Students at Ellis Elementary school showed off the high-tech features of their school's new Limitless Learning Commons during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Round Lake Beach school Tuesday afternoon.
The commons replaces the school's old library and computer room which were destroyed in the July 2017 flood. Instead of rebuilding the space as it was, the district saw an opportunity to bring it into the 21st century by combining the two rooms into the commons.
Parents and community members got to see the new furniture which are almost all on wheels so they can be rearranged to suit a variety of activities. The tabletops can be flipped over to reveal whiteboard surfaces where children can collaborate.
The commons also features new technology such as iPads, AppleTVs and more that Round Lake Unit School District 116 Superintendent Constance Collins said open up a world of possibilities for the students.
"The library vs. the LLC, there is no comparison," Collins said. "This is where learning should be."
Ellis Elementary Principal Beth Kiewicz said the children, who have been without a physical library since the start of school, are really excited for the commons to be open.
One of the new technologies the students showed off Tuesday night -- robots they programmed themselves.
"The whole concept of having a maker space has really opened their minds," Kiewicz said.
The total cost of the commons was $115,570; $81,122 of that was for the furniture and was covered by the district's insurance. The rest funded removal of the wall between the old computer room and library, and to buy new technology. The district's Education Foundation gave $13,500 to the Ellis library.