January 11th was the Ribbon Cutting of the Innovative Learning Center at Brewster High School. This two and a half year-long construction project gutted out the previously outdated library and refurbished it with a more modern, clean technology center. This innovation is a huge step for Brewster High School, as one of the biggest construction projects this year. The new space caters perfectly to the students’ needs and gives them a place to study, learn, interact, and collaborate. The ILC is a hub for collegiality, resilience, technology, and the gathering of ideas. Each room has multiple purposes and will aid in educational growth in school; in school teachers will have opportunities to take their classes to the ILC to work in groups or as a coherent unit.
At this Ribbon Cutting, many people spoke such as Superintendent of Schools Valerie Henning-Piedmonte, Principal Nikki Horler, and Director of Business Services Victor Karlsson. The Presidents and Trustees of the Brewster Board of Education were all present, as well as BHS students, custodial staff, students performers, and and technology department members. Everyone mingled and admired the beautifully coordinated space and toured each room, with the string quartet playing in the background. John Krouskoff explained how multiple devices could be connected to the TV in the lecture room, and how the ILC lends itself to engagement and collaboration between students and teachers. Mrs. Henning-Piedmonte spoke in her welcome about the ILC and other renovations being a big step for Brewster which will change the lives of students for years to come. She says, “This is like a warmup for students in real life once they finish school.” Being able to adapt and make good from change is an important life skill that students are being prepared for early.
As for the overall layout: The main section of the ILC is adorned with small tables, couches and desks, each providing an adequate space for students to work individually or in a group. The ILC has a long high table stretched across the center of the room with lights hanging from above, and it even includes a cove space, all similar to cafe tables and booths. On the opposite length of the room lies about 15 shelves of books and a desk for the librarian. At one end of the ILC there is a large quarter circle shaped room with two levels of desks, almost like a college lecture room, only slightly more intimate. On the other end, there are two to four rooms with mobile seats and long tables. In both of the rooms, the walls are collapsible for large or small group discussion. In both of these rooms the walls are graffiti style, where students are encouraged to take notes or write.
Among the many construction projects in the past year, the ILC was one of the most recent to finish. But this year alone Brewster High School has renovated locker room facilities, bathrooms, the weight room, and cafeteria. As Mrs. Henning-Piedmonte mentioned, this district has truly put its taxpayer money to good use, so us students should go home and thank our parents for the wonderful facilities we’re so lucky to have here in Brewster.