School library resurrected Rebuilt: A fire at Lake Clifton Eastern High destroyed the library three years ago. Today, a new state-of-the-art media center takes its place.

March 30, 1998|By Sarah Pekkanen | Sarah Pekkanen,SUN STAFF

More than three years after a devastating fire destroyed the library at Lake Clifton Eastern High School, school officials plan to unveil today a state-of-the-art, $4 million media center that houses 300,000 new books and periodicals.

It was critical to replace the library because the Jan. 30, 1995, fire that was blamed on faulty wiring harmed more than textbooks, officials said: it threatened the dreams of students who relied on it for research projects and the opportunity to experiment with new technology.

Stanley Holmes, then the school's principal, said he received a phone call at home at 3 a.m. informing him of the four-alarm blaze. He hurried to the school and quickly realized the library was unsalvageable. His first thought, he said, was for his students: "What are we going to do with our kids?"

Students were shuttled to area libraries until the school created a temporary media center. Parents, schools and business groups donated computers and cash, and helped stock the makeshift library with thousands of books and periodicals.

The new facility will offer substantial resources. The school spent more than $500,000 to replace books alone, and officials installed 20 new Internet-friendly computers in the center, which boasts bay windows and three classrooms.

"The media center in any school serves as the hub of instruction," Bernard Barnes, the school's principal, said in a statement. "We are simply elated that our students -- once again -- have access to a state-of-the-art facility that will greatly enhance their learning experience."

Pub Date: 3/30/98

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