The doors to the library at Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR) in Ormstown were opened last week for the first time since the start of the school year. Following months of major renovations, the space has been transformed into a modern multimedia room, or laboratory, that now houses the school’s collection of books.
The project came together very quickly after water infiltration, caused by work to replace some of the skylights in the roof, left school administrators asking whether it made more sense to clean or replace the carpeting. Once they realized the extent of the damage, school principal Anick Leclerc says they decided to make the most of an unfortunate situation.
“We had been thinking of doing the library,” she says, admitting the floor was long overdue, but it was more of a long-term vision. “It was a big undertaking,” says Leclerc, of the decision to go all-in at once. “It is renovation while in full operation!” she laughs, noting that while it wasn’t an easy sell initially, the $60,000 project was eventually approved by the governing board as well as the New Frontiers School Board.
Work began in the fall. All the books were pulled from the shelves and the carpet was removed, the floor was sanded and covered with new vinyl tiles, the baseboards were replaced, and the walls and shelving units were given a fresh coat of paint. Then came the task of reinstalling everything.
“We are being very diligent with the set-up,” says Leclerc, pointing out the books are now located along the walls to ensure any future water infiltration from shifting skylights does not cause more damage. A “makerspace” classroom has been created in one corner, and a large area has been cleared to be used as a meeting space. New furniture for the seating area was purchased and the check-out desk and printing station were updated, representing an additional expense of around $20,000 that will be covered in part through fundraising efforts, including the upcoming concert by Elvis tribute artist Sylvain Leduc.
Restocked shelves and new titles
The school’s collection of books was carefully sorted, and while new editions of some books will be added, other less popular titles were removed. “It is more complex than you would think to restock and shelve a library,” says Leclerc, who jokes she and several parent volunteers are now well-versed in the Dewey Decimal System. Volunteer Melissa Spenard-Nieuwenhof says the smiles on students faces as they peered in through the front door windows spurred them to stock the shelves as quickly as possible. She says the new multimedia lab will provide students with endless possibilities for creativity and innovation “as a safe space to be curious.”