MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - From smart phones to sleek laptops, technology has changed the way we live and learn, and it's the idea behind a new state of the art library at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery.
After months of fundraising and construction, school leaders unveiled its new media center today, complete with a cyber café and a mobile smart classroom.
Freshman Anna Claire Loftis said, "It's really cool how we can use technology and be comfortable, but we're learning at the same time."
Longtime Trinity Teacher Elisa Bowden said, "The whole construction of this facility has been so exciting."
School leaders are calling it the library of the next generation. It's a concept Apple came up with called the watering hole concept. The library has a bookstore lounge feel, with groupings of comfortable tables and chairs, so students can gather and work on their laptops.
Bowden said, "What's fun is when you come by here at 3:30 in the afternoon, and it's full of children with computers. They're so excited, and they're doing their work in here after hours."
But it's what's happening during school hours that teachers say is neat to watch.
"The kids get so excited now for class, even for my 8th grade math class. It was their first experience in the classroom," Bowden said.
It's technology Bowden says she is embracing. After 35 years in the classroom, she admits that she's learning along with her students.
"I'll get stuck on something or it won't move like it's supposed to, and they kids will say, 'Mrs. Bowden, you need to punch this button,' " Bowden said.
For Sophomore Cole Farris, it beats a lecture any day. "It's a lot different from textbooks because you're actually getting to be hands on rather than just sit there and listen," he said.
Bowden said, "It is great because exactly what I wanted to teach them just came to life on their own computer screen. They get to visualize what we're learning about."
To pay for the new center, the school raised $2.2 million dollars in a year-long fundraising campaign. That same campaign also funded a new expansion project at Trinity's Lower School.
School leaders broke ground on the facility Friday. The addition will make space for four more classrooms, an elementary library, and a fine arts area. The design will also include a computer research area.
Lower School Principal Tami Shelley said, "It means to us that people thought enough of our mission that they gave the funds to make sure this building happens. We could not be happier or more humble to those folks that gave."
The new wing will serve kindergarten through fifth grades.