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Ribbon cutting officially opens Warwick Valley Middle School’s new media center, industrial kitchen and music suites

on October 25, 2019

A large group of people cutting a ribbonWarwick Valley School District officials and students, area elected representatives and Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce members gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the official opening of Warwick Valley Middle School’s new media center, STEM classroom, industrial kitchen and music suites on Oct. 25.

A selection of people cutting ribbon Warwick Valley Superintendent Dr. David Leach, Middle School Principal Georgianna Diopoulos and State Sen. Jen Metzger – who represents the 42nd District and secured $20,000 to assist with the project — led the ribbon cutting with Board of Education and chamber officials, middle school student representatives and school officials.

“This media center is such a different feel than when we were in school,” said Dr. Leach. “Now, this is the hub of the middle school building.  And, this beautiful kitchen gives students great opportunities to learn some important, fundamental skills.” 

Sen. Metzger praised the district for it forward thinking.a selection of people cutting a ribbon

“It’s really important for schools to modernize,” she said.  “Education has changed. There is a tremendous need to have facilities support these new ways of learning. The new media center, for example, fosters collaborative learning, and that’s one of many keys to success.  I’m constantly impressed with Warwick Valley. They lead the way in so many things. I applaud their leadership for always being on the education forefront.”  

The media center/STEM classroom

In the new media center, students and faculty now benefit from a multipurpose conference-like room. There is also a flexible room for large-group instruction. Both are housed in sound-resistant glass and will create an open, The media centerunifying flow between all learning spaces in the media center. Open areas will offer flexible seating for easy reconfiguration and greater functionality.

Modular instructional and collaborative workspaces, as well as quiet study areas now exist along with technology upgrades in a new infrastructure capable of supporting future modernization.

“The new media center is designed to keep pace with the changing needs of our learners, the markets and workplaces they will one day contribute to, and the global problems they will help solve,” said Mrs. Diopoulos.

the middle school media centerSeventh-grader Brady Judd felt the media center gives students a new, great place to complete work and even relax.

“It’s quiet and it’s comforting,” he added. “You can get everything done here and that’s how it will help me as a student.”  

The media center also contains 10,000 books, stored in four rows of shelving.

The industrial kitchen suite

The equipment in the new industrial kitchen rivals what professional chefs work with in commercial kitchens. 

“The function of Family and Consumer Sciences used to have a focus on personal cooking/life skills,” said Mrs. Diopoulos. “As we’ve students in industrial kitchenentered the 21st century, our focus is providing students with skills in order to be college and career ready. And, our middle school students are learning important life skills as well.”

Students love the space, and know working in it will help with the development of personal skills and/or to help them as the time comes to determine a future career,

Tenth-grader Azia Bey noted that while she took a similar class while in middle school, the class she’s now taking offers her a chance to expand her knowledge base.

food in industrial kitchen“I’m taking this class because I want to learn more,” she added. “Yes, this is a career I’m thinking about. But for now, I’m thinking about what knowledge I can bring home from what I cook here. I love to cook. My mom enjoys being in the kitchen and I hope to be as good as her someday.”

There’s another benefit, too.

“We all eat a lot of fast food and that’s not good,” added Azia. “It’s good to have foods that benefit your health. And for the future, it’s good for me to be able to do this (cook) on my own.” 

Additionally, a new adjacent suite features state-of-the-art sewing machines with enhanced technology.  

The music suite

The new music suite features state-of-the art technology for teaching music along with a new music MAC Lab, which is located in the Media Center.

music suiteThe suite also includes a new sheet music library, soundproofing and acoustic upgrades in addition to more modern storage for equipment.

Warwick Chamber of Commerce President Michael Johndrow also congratulated the district for providing students with an enhanced learning environment to prepare them for adulthood.

“This is a big deal,” he said. “These students have so much more than previous generations. Things are changing so fast and we need to be ready, be adaptable and be flexible. I’m proud to say we have a Blue Ribbon school district with all these great things.” 

As part of the celebration, middle school student representatives took guests on tours of the new areas.

The capital project also included the relocation of the middle school’s administrative offices to the area formerly occupied by the music suite.  This new location allows for improved administrative operations and provides enhanced safety and security by keeping visitors from direct contact with the student population. 

The work was completed this past summer and is part of the 2017 voter-approved, $10.8 million capital improvement project. 

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