Dare County School Builds Amazing New Media Center After Hurricane Dorian

Dare County School Builds Amazing New Media Center After Hurricane Dorian

When Cape Hatteras Secondary School’s library was destroyed by a hurricane, the school turned to MiEN to help it come back even stronger and better.

In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian ripped through Dare County, N.C. with a vengeance, leaving behind a trail of destruction that would take area residents, businesses, and schools months (if not years) to clean up and move past.

A determined bunch, the team at Cape Hatteras Secondary School had its work cut out for it once the storm had passed. Its media center was flooded, which meant most of the furniture, carpeting, and bookshelves would need to be replaced. Because the facility lost power right in the middle of the hot, humid summer months, the mold and mildew began to build up fairly quickly.

“Our media center was in really bad shape; it was a complete loss,” says Russ Gurganus, Facilities Director, who took a “glass half-full” outlook on the situation. Even though the facility had been well maintained prior to the storm, Dorian gave the school a good reason to completely overhaul it.

“It was a good time for a change,” says Gurganus, who kicked off the rebuilding process by searching the web for ideas. “MiEN had a lot of cool media center pictures and examples on its website. We realized at that point that this was our chance to put a complete redesign on our media center.”

Resilient and Flood-Resistant

Knowing that a future hurricane could take the same swipe at its new center, Cape Hatteras Secondary School focused on two key goals: making the new structure mobile and also ensuring that it was flood-resistant.

It installed resinous/epoxy flooring in lieu of carpet and matched its acoustical ceiling tile to that flooring. Working with MiEN, it selected furniture that correlated with those foundational elements, including mobile bookcases. “Even if we only have a couple of days to prepare for a hurricane,” says Gurganus, “we can roll the bookcases to a safer location on campus.”

A fairly large space, the new media center also features an array of flexible seating options. To select the seating, the school used MiEN’s 3D visual tool, which provided a 360-degree view of exactly what the seats would look like within the space. “MiEN made the process seamless,” Gurganus explains.

Gurganus says he was particularly impressed by MiEN’s demonstration of how easy it would be to clean the new media center furniture. “Our sale representative, Kim Diaz, came in, poured water on some of the samples, and showed us how easy it was to just wipe down,” he explains.

“That was a huge selling point because anytime you put kids into a media center with water bottles or other containers that can spill easily,” Gurganus continues, “the last thing you want is for your new furniture to get stained.”

A Whole New Experience

The new media center is in place and ready to welcome students back on campus when the school reopens. “Several of the children have looked in through the windows and are super excited to get in there and do their work,” says Beth Rook, Principal.

Rook says she especially likes how the furniture can be arranged to accommodate a classroom setup, and how the couches are mobile. “The kids can move them and gather around to have work sessions and collaborate on projects,” she explains. “Having that flexibility and the ability to do group work makes this more than just a media center; it truly is a multipurpose facility.”

Long considered Cape Hatteras Secondary School’s hub, the media center will serve as a gathering place for learning, collaborating, reading, and studying for many years to come. “We do a lot of project-based learning, and we run a lot of programs out of our media center,” Rook concludes. “Having the flexibility to move the furniture in this great new space is going to make this an even more valuable part of our school’s campus.”

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