Pictured left to right cutting the ribbon are Walnut Springs Principal Becca Yanni; Walnut Springs Library Media Specialist Jean Trimble; eighth grade student Eli Detemple, Westerville City Schools Board of Education members Tracy Davidson, Richard Bird, Dr. Nancy Nestor-Baker and Rick Vilardo; and Superintendent Dr. John Kellogg.
Students, staff and school officials gathered September 18, 2015, at Walnut Springs Middle School for a Center for Inspiration ribbon cutting ceremony. Renovation of the media center at Walnut Springs was one of many projects completed as part of the Westerville City School District’s five-year capital improvement plan, which is funded by a permanent improvement levy approved by residents in 2009. The Center for Inspiration was completed at a cost of approximately $65 per square foot. Past projects to create inspirational educational spaces have earned national recognition for the Westerville City School District.
The design concept for the Center for Inspiration evolved from a media center to a “multi” media center that includes music, art, and literature. Known to students as “The CFI,” the renovated 7,000 square feet of space includes:
- A “Makerspace” for creative projects (including 3D printing, die cutting, etc.);
- Two offices;
- A television studio (WOLF TV);
- A flex classroom that opens up to the main area via two glass garage doors;
- A computer bar; and
- An outdoor learning environment.
The space offers a variety of experiences to draw students in and enhance their desire to learn, such as:
- Comfortable furniture that is typical to what is provided in today’s coffee houses;
- Booth seating (with monitors);
- Club chairs wrapped around a three-sided virtual fireplace (with monitors located in the fire box); and
- A high-tech audio system that provides multiple sound options throughout the space and includes inputs for microphones and musical instruments to encourage student performances within the space.
During the first week of school, students already had checked out three times the number of books as compared to a year ago.
Walnut Springs Middle School has an enrollment of approximately 950 students in grades 6 through 8. The facility first opened its doors in 1965 as Westerville Junior High School (the first Westerville Junior High School). The name changed to Walnut Springs Middle School in 1967 based upon a recommendation from the Citizens’ Advisory Council.