T.A. Dugger turns new page with media center

Photo by John Bryant
New T.A. Dugger Media Center
Faculty and guests gathered at T.A. Dugger Jr. High School’s new Media Center for an open house Thursday evening. The facility includes a well-equipped computer room.

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

  Away from classroom sounds and banging doors, T.A. Dugger Junior High School students have a new area for library study and computer lab work.
  Elizabethton City Schools' officials held an open house on Thursday afternoon at the school's new Media Center building located on the former tennis courts near the school's main building. The 5,100-square-foot center combines the school's library and two computer labs into one large workspace for students.
  "We are able to serve four classes at one time," said T.A. Dugger Principal Regina Cates. "Every class gets an opportunity to come in here."
  The center opened the library three weeks ago. The computer labs were completed this week. With approximately 8,700 bound volumes and over 50 Apple computers, the media center can accommodate up to four classes from any academic discipline.
  "We had 14 classes in today and that is without the labs," Cates said.
  The computers were purchased on the aftermarket using funds from the school's Parent Teacher Organization.
  "That's where our bean supper fund-raising money goes," Cates said.
  One librarian and a teacher's assistant staff the center. Cates said the computer labs include software for teachers to formulate a lesson plan or conduct specific research for academic work. The school's former library space is being converted into two classrooms.
  "We don't just let them surf the Web," she said. "They have either lessons they are doing or certain research."
  The media center construction costs were split between the past and current budget years. The system appropriated $262,000 in the 2004 and 2005 fiscal year to fund the building. The funds were allocated through the county school system's capital improvement project budget from remaining dollars used to construct Cloudland Elementary School, according to the ECS finance director.
  Cates said outside organizations donated money to purchase additional books. The initial plan to build the center started over seven years ago when Richard Culver was principal at TAD, she added.
  The Board of Education held its November meeting at the center shortly after the open house.