Lakota West High School gets Scandinavian makeover by Ikea

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Lakota West High School gets Scandinavian makeover by Ikea

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The new look for Lakota West High School’s library and media center has school officials pleased, saying the space now more closely resembles a modern college learning area. Ikea officials say they will donate the same furnishings to Lakota East High School in Liberty Township by August 2018. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

An international retailer gave Lakota West High School a Scandinavian makeover this week with $11,000 of donated furniture, lamps and decorations from the region’s Ikea store.

And yes, some assembly was required but done expertly by Ikea workers.

It was all worth it, said grateful Lakota school officials, to transform Lakota West’s 20-year-old library and media center.

“With 25 buildings nearing an average age of 25 years old, there’s a lot of prioritization that goes into maintaining our buildings and grounds,” said Lakota’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Passarge of the 16,500-student district, which is the largest suburban school system in Southwest Ohio.

“Community partners like Ikea really help us take the Lakota learning experience to new levels and we are grateful for their generosity,” said Passarge.

And don’t worry Lakota East High School, your $11,000 Swedish-inspired makeover will happen at your Liberty Township school by August 2018, said Lakota officials.

Ikea officials said they are glad to support the two schools, which are among the top-10 largest in Ohio by modernizing a key learning area in the high schools, which opened on the same day in 1997 and were identically constructed though later additions added individual distinctions to the schools.

“We’re honored to continue our relationship with the Lakota school district,” said IKEA West Chester interim store manager Shane Montano-Rayford. “This project will benefit current and future students by giving them a comfortable and flexible space to work and collaborate.”

Lakota West maintenance workers also maximized the refreshed media center look with fresh paint and new carpeting.

Besides the bright colors, the new space combines both high and low seating options. Lightweight and mobile furniture also allow for more flexible seating, meaning students and staff can adapt the space to meet the demands of a project.

Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller said “part of preparing our students for their future means giving them a learning environment that more closely mimics the college or career experience.”

“Today’s careers demand collaboration and innovation and so much of that is fueled by our work spaces and what they allow us to do,” said Miller.

Lakota West Principal Elgin Card looked around at the new, striking colors and designs and smiled.

“Our teachers understand how something as simple as the environment around them can make or break a student’s concentration or productivity or even their creative output,” said Card. “Ikea’s generosity is taking that factor out of the equation. Plus, it’s human nature to be more productive in spaces we take pride in.”

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