Lawrence Township’s Slackwood School to receive library renovations

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The Slackwood Elementary School Library is poised to undergo a significant expansion and transformation, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.

The grant was presented to Lawrence Township Public Schools officials by Karen Faiman, the executive director of the Lawrence Township Education Foundation, and Amy Davis, president of the nonprofit group’s board of trustees.

Faiman said the foundation was “very excited” by the grant application for the library expansion and renovation, which was submitted by school district officials.

“We are very excited by this proposal. It is going to a population and part of the district where we have not spent a lot of funds,” Faiman said of the Slackwood Elementary School grant.

In the past, grants have been awarded for projects in the upper grades, such as the art room at the Lawrence Middle School and the technology lab at Lawrence High School.

The Slackwood Elementary School grant will pay for the costs of relocating and doubling the size of the library, which is presently housed in one room on the first floor of the school.

The library will be moved into a remodeled space in the basement. It will feature a media zone and a STREAM (Science Technology Research Engineering Arts and Math) Center.

The Media Zone will include the library’s book collection, interactive video technology, and research tools such as laptop computers and tablets. It will be large enough to handle multiple classes for lessons and projects.

The Slackwood STREAM Center will be located in a separate area. It will include whiteboard walls, as well as wipe-off tables for brainstorming, mind-mapping and design work.

The STREAM Center also can accommodate rotating projects and initiatives that include a Makerspace, coding station and video production studio. It can also be used as a family resource and education center.

“The Makerspace is a flexible space for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses everything from high tech to ‘no tech’ tools,” said Jeanne Muzi, the principal of the Slackwood Elementary School.

They can explore a variety of materials and discover their own interests and passions, Muzi said. They can hone their problem-solving skills and take on challenges.

The goal of the Makerspace is for students to work together to learn, collaborate and build, she said. They can explore new ideas which will enable them to create new things or to improve things that already exist, she added.

Overall, the planned library expansion and renovation project will be “truly transformational,” Muzi said.

“This is going to change our school in significant ways. This will really impact the students and the parents for a really long time,” Muzi said.