Athenaeum updates emphasize collaboration and connectivity

New seating includes padded risers, a “nook” and raised bar stools.

Pooja Krishna, Editor

The Athenaeum has been undergoing renovations from late fall of 2015 and these changes are scheduled to be completed by the end of May. New furniture, power stands, and low profile strips are only a few of the changes to be implemented.

“The Athenaeum should be the hub of the school where all the action takes place,” Holly Hammonds, the Coordinator of Media Services, said. “Technology is a huge part of the Athenaeum. It helps you learn and makes learning engaging and I wanted this to be a place that supported that.”

First, Ms. Hammonds took her ideas to Mr. Mininger and Mr. Poore, and once they reached definite decisions, they set out to find a donor.

“The number one driving decision is that it’s for students and teachers. Our students deserve to graduate from JPII and be ahead of everyone else when it comes to technology in school and in their career,” Ms. Hammonds said. “[Mr. Poore] had the same vision. He knew that the students of JPII would benefit from being advanced in technology.”

The grant was given by Reverend Monsignor R. James Ballint. He was the founding pastor of Prince of Peace Catholic Community and was a member of the JPII Board of Trustees from 2005 until his death on March 22, 2016.

“He was here since the very beginning and he helped get our school started,” Ms. Hammonds said. “We had a vision of the Athenaeum when this school started 10 years ago.”

The remodeled setup of the tables and chairs are flexible; power stands are set on the floor and low profile strips run under the carpet. Renovations for the Genius Room, which is located next to the Scholar Center at the back of the Athenaeum, include tables and chairs for both individual and group projects and systems for projecting group assignments from a computer onto a TV screen.

“The number of students coming in here has increased already, just because it makes it an easy place for them to meet and talk and study, because it is comfortable and they’re plugged in,” Ms. Hammonds said.