John B. Sliney Elementary School principal Dr. Susan Iwanicki-Smith is excited about the new additions to the school’s media center, which includes more computers and new artwork but highlights something old as well. “We were able to invest in something that was part of the school,” explained Iwanicki-Smith, of the recent efforts to refurbish about nine oak chairs for the media center. “It’s really a small story,” she said, “but it’s a big idea.”
Branford High School students from John Niemiec’s wood working class are sanding and refinishing the chairs for the Sliney media center, and they’re excited, said Iwanicki-Smith, because many of the students remember sitting in the chairs when they were sat Sliney.
Brad Barlow, a BHS student, has been working hard on the chairs said Niemiec. “Barlow [is] a great kid, very bright and hard working,” said Niemiec. “[He] sure can get things done and done well.”
Refinishing the oak chairs to be used in the study area of the media center is just one part of reinventing the library said Iwanicki-Smith. Reiterating what she said when discussing the state of Sliney School to the Board of Education ad-hoc committee who was looking at renovating or finding a new home for the elementary school, Iwanicki-Smith said, “The library should be the heart of the school.”
Right now, Sliney is not going anywhere and the new media center will continue to serve students until the committee helps to make a decision on the future of the school.
The school library, which faces the public entrance to the school, has become this re-imagined media center, where the computer lab has grown to include several more computers – the computers took the space of the VHS library, which is no longer used.
The room was reconfigured with new tables and the group reading area has been expanded, explained Iwanicki-Smith.
All told, $10,000 was spent on tables, chairs and artwork for the media center, she confirmed. A cost-savings was found by having the BHS students work on re-finishing the old chairs. It will cost Sliney about $90 for materials to work on the chairs, Iwanicki-Smith said.
The idea to bridge the two schools on the chair project came from Sliney reading specialist Carol Spinello, said Iwanicki-Smith.