Designing Media Centers for a High-Tech Generation

Mary-Claire Brown

Interior Designer

October 19, 2020

The “libraries” of old have become “media centers” today offering students diverse learning experiences with fewer books and more technology. Our challenge in designing these spaces for Jefferson County Elementary Schools was to nurture children’s boundless imagination and encourage them to engage with all types of literature and learning tools.

Adamsville Elementary, Johnson Elementary, and Bryant Park each received new environments for their media centers this year. The reoccurring features displayed in our latest designs include the importance of sight lines, the use of color, variety in space and functionality, innovative graphics, and versatile furniture.


Media Center TURNERBATSON Architecture 1



During the design process, our team focused on providing clear sight lines for teachers in each of the schools. Through the open floorplans, we were able to create versatility by centrally locating the main desks, improving lighting, and lowering all bookshelves so that teachers could monitor each of the learning spaces.


Bryant Park Elementary School TURNERBATSON Architecture 3



At Adamsville, our team recreated the existing library into an environment that evoked lecture, performance, and quiet study in different “learning zones.” The renovations included enough space for each student to sit at a computer as well as flow to other areas for reading and group activities.



By closing in the past stage and closing off the old serving lines at Johnson, we were able to design “The Cave” providing a quiet space for traditional reading.




Color and form were used in all our designs to propel students into learning environments of the future. The mix of purple and green at Bryant Park Elementary create a lively interior designed to engage children’s imaginations while simultaneously creating teaching moments. The fade of purple and blues at Adamsville Elementary showcase a harmonious look while creating designations for each space.



The use of prismatic colors at Johnson Elementary provide a sense of a fresh and bright interior in a room with no access to natural light.


Media Center TURNERBATSON Architecture 4



There are many uses for graphics in each media center celebrating a literal or figurative representation its purpose. “I Have an Idea!” and “Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader” are verbal representations of the concepts for Adamsville and Bryant Park. The reading tower in Adamsville showcases a nighttime galaxy with a hand-drawn lightbulb. This figuratively emulates “brainstorming” — part of creating an “idea.”



Johnson’s administrative team wanted the school values displayed in the media center encouraging students to “look to the future,” illustrated through dynamic lines and bold colors.




Each school has lightweight bookshelves, tables, and chairs on casters that were designed to be easy to move. Whether it was built-in or freestanding, each media center has a stage or tiered seating area to encourage group-led classes.


Media Center TURNERBATSON Architecture 5


Each center is also equipped for the latest technology through built-in counters and multi-colored stools providing permanent space for digital learning.