"It's a lot more modern and usable," said principal Roy Frakes. "And the students have better access to the computer lab."
Over the past six months, the 17-year-old dark blue walls were given a fresh coat of taupe paint. Blue carpet with seams once held together by duct tape was replaced with beige berber carpet. And the tall metal book cases were swapped for heavy wooden bookcases. Lighting was also replaced.
"This new library is lighter. Our old library was kind of dark and dreary," said Melanie Wood, library media specialist for the Middle School.
In addition to new paint and carpet, the renovations included a new ceiling, duct work and entrance doors. New wood tables and a large circulation desk are also part of the library's makeover.
"The furniture and carpet are so cool, and the shelves and tables, are, too," said library media specialist assistant Kelly Barnes.
Adding uniqueness to the room is wall of glass blocks that peer out into a hallway.
Wood and Barnes began moving into the newly renovated room about three weeks ago. Books are still being stocked on shelves, but Wood estimated everything should be complete in about a week.
"It's spacious in here," said seventh grader Nhi Hoang, who is also a library student helper.
Seventh grade student helper Ryan Fox said he prefers the new library over the old.
"I like how it's arranged differently," Fox said.
Wood said all of the students have been very interested in watching the transformation of their library.
"When they first came back to school, there wasn't a wall between library and hallway," Wood recalled. "As they walked back and forth, a lot of them could see the work as it was progressing."
During the construction, the library was housed across the hall in a meeting room.
"We had 8,000 books in boxes in the room, and still managed to check out Reading Counts (reading program) books to students," Wood said.
Wood noted the Sikeston Public Library has all of the students Reading Counts books so the students were able to access books there, too.
"I think the parents will be glad to know we have a library," Wood laughed.
Although the library previously had a computer lab, it was separated by a wall, Wood said. Part of the renovation included knocking down the wall to create an open area for the lab, she said.
"And they love new lab," Wood said about students.
The 30-terminal computer lab is now complete with a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, LCD projector and DVD burner.
Teachers love it, too, Wood said.
"One class was able to show their Power Point presentations. Before the teacher would go to each computer and now the whole class could see each student's presentation," Wood said.
Wood was quick to point out the library has many uses other than checking out books. Certain classes use the computer lab during different hours of the day, and classes will come in to do research for special projects. Also several students use the computers to type papers after school because they don't have computers at home.
"The library is used," Wood said. "Some people think the library is just sitting here with a bunch of books, but we're always busy."