MONTVILLE, NJ – Families, students and administrators gathered at the Montville Township High School on Jan. 19 for the unveiling of the newly renovated MTHS media center. The four-year process culminated in a new facility that Montville Township Board of Education President Dr. Matthew Kayne called, “a technological showcase that will better help our students to prepare for their future.”
The media center had not received any major renovations since its construction 45 years ago.
“In those days,” said Kayne, “the library was a book warehouse with a few phones and a copy machine. The world of technology has come a long way. With so many technological advancements, technology’s impact on education continues to be defined over time. Few districts can boast that they have the innovative instructional programs that we now provide in Montville Township. This media center helps raise the educational bar further.”
Kayne thanked former superintendent of schools Dr. Paul Fried, who attended the ceremony, for his “vision and guidance.”
Kayne also thanked the Media Center Action Committee for its work in planning the center. Composed of educators, Board of Ed members, Montville Township Public Library personnel, parents and students, the MCAC toured other high schools’ media centers and researched all the possible innovations that could be built into the center. MTHS Principal Douglas Sanford stated a year and a half was spent researching.
Sanford said a former Board of Education member told him to “dream big, which opened the doors to put any idea on the table. Not every idea made it to the final project, but we came up with a fantastic space that’s a wonderful renovation for this high school.”
“This is a beautiful space, and it’ll be fantastic for years to come. But that only makes up ten percent of it. What’s going to make it super-special is our fantastic media specialist Jennifer Keneally,” Sanford said.
Sanford said that Keneally became media specialist two years ago, but even before the renovation, was attracting students to the media center by making the most of the facility despite its limitations. He called her a great asset to the school. “In my opinion, her ability to generate renewed excitement about the media center contributed to the anticipation and enthusiasm for the renovation,” he told TAP into Montville.
Sanford said key features of the new facility include flexibility, and a design that not only fits the needs of current students, but also the “students of tomorrow.” Natural light was also desired, as well as freshness and “user-defined spaces, to accommodate the individual.”
Board Member Dr. Karen Cortellino also thanked Fried, stating, “his wisdom and thoughtfulness guided us through some complicated moments.”
Cortellino thanked PTC Co-President Andrea Orris and former PTC Co-President Kim Passaretti for “recognizing the dire shape our media center was in.”
Cortellino said that Orris and Passeretti didn’t just recognize the issue but took action, fundraising and asking the Board of Ed to earmark the donation to the media center. Cortellino stated that former Board Member Jackie Ritschel urged a far more substantial renovation than even the generous donation of $10,000 could buy. Cortellino stated Ritschel convinced the Board to set aside money to do the project “in the right way.”
Orris thanked the students on the MCAC for “forming the idea of what would benefit them.” She said the new media center will “help staff become even better by providing them with the resources they need to help our kids become critical thinkers.”
President of the Student Activities Council and Student Representative to the Board of Education Tasneem Amer stated the best part of being on the MCAC as a student, was being able to speak their opinions directly to the media specialists and the designers. She called the media center renovation “remarkable.”
To see a compilation video of the unveiling ceremony, watch: