MHS Interior Design Class Helps Create Library Learning Commons
by Peter Gale, Community Outreach Team
Changing the Manteca High School Library into a more modern Library Learning Commons has been a multi-year project, but with the help of the CTE Interior Design Class, it is moving closer to completion.
After already helping design and improve the MHS Student Store and Learning Center, Interior Design teacher Angie Anaya has worked with her Career Technical Education students from all over the district to plan and execute on a new design for the library.
“It is about bringing fresh excitement and interactive comfort to help create a space that students and teachers will use more,” said Anaya.
In her tenth year with Manteca Unified, Anaya formerly worked at Delta College and before that in the fashion and design industry.
“My purpose in my class is to give them hands-on opportunities, to run into issues and how to problem solve. To learn by doing,” Anaya said. “You have to start with the design process, researching trends, surveying teachers and students and figuring out what do to in this space. They treated Mrs. Buchanan as their client and it was a long process to come up with the final elevation.”
Students had to please more than just Mrs. Buchanan and significant planning was needed.
“We started to plan this project a month or two before winter break,” said MHS junior Lily Carter.
“We presented our plans to the Librarian, the principal, vice principal and some people from the district office,” said Carter. “There is this super dark green color that we have to put in now because it is the actual Manteca High Green color that they want us to include.”
LHS junior Jaeden Merino came up with the idea of using geometric shapes for the walls.
“I signed up for this class because I have a dream to work in architecture,” said Merino. “I was going through lots of shapes and triangles are simple enough, but they are just nice. The colors are the school colors, just shades of green and gray.”
“We knew that geometric patterns are in [trend] and help create a modern vibe and a sense of unity,” said SHS senior Allie Quiaoit. “Our main focus has been the design of it, where the triangles are going and how we are making the shapes so that it is not too crowded or two spaced.”
Quiaoit has recently been accepted to San Diego State and will be joining their interior design program.
The new design isn’t just about fresh paint.
“My main role was the soft seating where they are going to sit, hang out and talk,” said EUHS junior Jasmine Hernandez. “We picked the color patterns and what we are doing here in the section. I really like seeing the library change.”
Mary Buchanan, the MHS High School Library Media Technician, has worked in the MHS library for 12 years and at the Joshua Cowell library for over 7 years before that.
Buchanan explained that the soft seating area will include two arm chairs and five modular pieces with backs but no arms to allow for flexible arrangements. The tables and chairs have wheels on them to make them easier to arrange.
“We are creating an environment that is inviting and alive so that when students do come in, it feels like it is their third place,” Buchanan said. “You’ve got home, you’ve got work, and this can become their third place where you can feel comfortable to connect.”
In some ways, the library helps bring aspects of a college campus to the high school.
“It is also a place where we are trying to make an active learning area, a social area, and another quiet zone,” Buchanan said. “It is much more like what you would find at a college with different activities and areas to do things.”
Buchanan explained that last year the administration purchased café style tables with integrated charging hubs that are more inviting to the students. She added that some of those interactive activities will be built into the walls.
“I’m doing the chalk wall and the Lego wall area,” said MHS senior Michelle Bird. “We are going to get black panels and put them on the wall and then paint the whole wall with chalk paint and make it interactive so that students can use it as well.”
In addition to using fabric samples and paint swatches, the students work digitally also.
“On their devices we use software called Easy Decorator that students can use with images, backgrounds, and flooring. It is a great first step for students to create an elevation, create their floorplans and visually put together something,” Anaya said.
Several of her students are excited to continue studying this subject.
“I’m probably going to go to Fresno community college because they have a lot of architecture and interior design classes there,” Carter said. “Then, I will transfer to Fresno State to take the engineering classes so that I can pretty much design buildings inside and out.”
Anaya explained that MUSD fashion students can easily transition to Delta College.
“Because we are articulated with Delta, they earn some college credits here in my class,” Anaya said. “When people take a step back and realize what industries are available, there are so many opportunities for careers that students can go into. We all wear clothes and we all live inside of a space. There is landscape architecture, commercial design, public spaces, lighting and all of that.”
The students shared that near the front entrance will be a quote by author Neil Gaiman. “A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.” This captures the library’s purpose.
“The library is like a treasure chest that has so many things that can bridge the gap for students and help them succeed at whatever path they choose,” said Buchanan. “Although I run the library, I am not a teacher librarian. I have hope that as we move forward with the learning commons and start drawing in more students, perhaps we can again have teacher librarians who help prepare our students to be career and future ready.”
The grand re-opening of the library is Tuesday, May 21st.