Corona del Mar High School parents have transformed what once was an uninviting information center into a brightly decorated hangout for students.
The school's booster club, fundraising Corona del Mar High School Foundation and Parent-Teacher Assn. funded the $130,000 remodel, which took about three weeks over the summer to complete, in hopes that students will utilize the space for projects, homework and college application assistance, said Jane Jones, co-chairwoman of the foundation.
"We want to connect them to the outside community and create the feeling of a college campus," she said.
The remodel split the center into two rooms, a smaller one furnished with a white board and conference table, and a larger space with a flat-screen television that will act as an electronic message board, computers and sitting areas where students can study and unwind.
A group of students gathered for the ribbon cutting Monday morning to celebrate the renovated area. Previously, students had no place inside the school to work on group projects or study in a relaxed environment.
Before the renovation, the room, which parents dubbed the "fish bowl," was locked for the majority of the day and posters covered the windows.
Associated Student Body President Kris Beyrooty said he is grateful for the new space and the opportunities it will bring for collaboration among students.
"It's cool to come in here now and have a place to hang out and study," he said.
A parent volunteer and career counselor will man the center during open hours to assist students with homework and college planning.
Edie Denning, who has two children, a sophomore and a senior, at CdM, said she hopes students will utilize the center as a place to gather information to plan for their education beyond high school.
"It's nice for the kids to have a space where they can find information from someone qualified," she said.
Supt. Frederick Navarro said the space could serve as a model for student centers at other high schools in the Newport-Mesa School District.
"We have some college and career centers, but nothing like this," he said. "This room has such a great feel."