Saturday, April 9, 2005

East Lake library groundbreaking

A groundbreaking ceremony, held Wednesday, April 6, commemorated a new East Lake Elementary School library -- the first project to be financed through the Konocti district's school bond.

Donning hard hats and hefting "golden" shovels, groups of district supporters turned over shovelfuls of dirt including the Konocti school board, the Measure G oversight committee, representatives of the Clearlake/Glenhaven Business Association and district and school employees. Their consecutive efforts demonstrated the validity of an adage that "It takes a village to raise a child."

The groundbreaking was the highlight of a celebration that also included a song, performed by campus students extolling the virtues of "Read and Learn." And Brad Onorato, representing U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, presented the school with a flag that recently flew over the nation's capitol.

Marveling at the changes she'd witnessed during 21 years as a district educator, Board President Carolynn Jarrett said she looked forward to what changes that the future would bring. "Parents, community members and district employees came together in a concerted effort," she said, reflecting on a bond measure that passed by 71.4 percent during November's general election. "It's fitting that our first project be a library , a repository of knowledge."

The East Lake Elementary School library is one of five to be constructed at Konocti campuses. The buildings will resemble facilities in Laytonville, as designed by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Inc. Maintenance Director Dana Moore, whose to-scale gymnasium model graces the district office meeting room, revealed an additional talent on Wednesday with his painted rendition of East Lake's facility.

The library is expected to be open by September 2005 with four other library facilities to open in January 2006. Additional grant funding, if awarded by the federal government, will transform these "beautiful shells" into state-of-the-art library media centers.

A grant application prepared by Karen MacDougall came before the board for approval during Wednesday's regular meeting. In addition to increasing library collections by 6,000 shelf-ready books, the "Konocti Read and Link for Lifelong Learning" project would create an on-line network that links local, state and national libraries. The effect would be to tie individual sites into one "virtual library" with on-line access from classrooms and students' homes.

Sound-proof study rooms are also in the works, equipped with adaptive technology. And the grant would fund a state-certified " library media specialist," who would be available through a partnership to the county and neighboring districts.

Konocti is asking for $335,120 through an "Improving Literacy Through School Libraries" grant. The board voted 5-0 on Wednesday to approve the grant application.

Carl Principal Bill MacDougall, speaking on Karen MacDougall's behalf, said that the grant was a highly competitive one and she was worried it would not be approved. Board and district employees were unanimous, however, in their praise for the job MacDougall had done. Adjectives of "wonderful" and "marvelous" were bandied during Wednesday's meeting.

The district could hear word in late April or early May, based upon Superintendent Dr. Louise Nan's experience in applying for other federal grants.