High school moving on library, lab upgrades 

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School trustees have voted to send a request for proposals (RFP) to architects for developing concept drawings and cost estimates for expanding the school’s library and reconfiguring the science labs. 

“Right now, we have a really great 20th century library,” librarian Davonne Pappas told the trustees on Monday.  

“It’s cute and lovely and a welcoming space, but it’s not an overly adaptable room. We really need to focus on having very purposeful space. What that means is having space for classes to be there and for meetings. But it’s also really important to have enough space so the library doesn’t have to shut down in order for those other things to happen,” Pappas said. 

“To have our collection spread out in different areas rather than just in one big lump is really critical, because that allows for spaces to be carved out for individuals who want to read or work on their own and not be bothered by whatever else might be happening. 

“Having spaces to allow for students and teachers to use the library in lots of different ways is going to enhance what our students get out of their school experience,” she said. 

Jen Murphy, a high school science teacher, said. “We have seven science teachers and six classrooms. Our floater is in the science lounge right now, which is in the back prep room of my room. We would love to see another classroom appear somehow. 

Murphy said she has the smallest of the science classrooms. 

“It’s really jam packed. To have 20-plus kids in that room is (too many). But I’m lucky; I have lab benches where the kids can work. Other rooms don’t.” 

Science teacher John DaCorte told the high school trustees that classroom flexibility is very important.
“Now, we have specific rooms that we can teach a specific class in, and that constrains the schedule,” he said. “If all rooms could host all [science] subjects, that would be helpful.” 

Another science teacher, Alisa Long, agreed that flexibility is important. 

I think everybody is looking for space that can change, because we do so many different things in science now.” 

She also said there is a storage problem that needs to be addressed. 

“We have an unreal number of drawers and cabinets, but they’re not functional,” she said. “There are only certain things you can store in those skinny little drawers. 

I would like us to look at what we need to store and how we need to store it and try to be creative in designing storage that is really functional.” 

The high school board of trustees can spend money for concept drawings and cost estimates for the library and science lab projects. But the authority to borrow money for the renovation projects themselves would require a vote of the residents of the four Mount Desert Island towns, which own the high school and whose property owners pay taxes to support it. 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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