A 65-year-old building will be rededicated today by officials at Berry College as one of the most modern teacher-education facilities in the nation.
The historic Cook Building has been gutted and literally rebuilt to support Berry’s Charter School of Education and Human Sciences.
The facility will also house classrooms for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who attend Berry College Middle School, previously located on the mountain campus.
Last year was the first year Berry had a full middle school since the Berry Academy closed in 1983, said Alan Storey, executive assistant to the president.
Berry added a sixth grade in 1998, a seventh grade the following year and an eighth grade last year. The school has about 35 students.
“That puts our education and psychology students in contact with adolescents on a daily basis and gives them experience that will be invaluable as they begin their future careers,” said Dr. Jacqueline McDowell, dean of the Charter School.
The building will be dedicated today at noon following the 11 a.m. 2002-2003 convocation in the Berry College Chapel.
The Cook Building renovation was funded by a $5 million anonymous gift from a friend of Berry.
A $425,000 grant from The Goizueta Foundation equipped the building with the latest technology, including multimedia classrooms with projectors and screens integrated with computers, DVDs, VCRs, document cameras and total audio/video capabilities, McDowell said.
A media production center gives students tools to meet performance-based assessment requirements and to leave Berry with CDs demonstrating their professional skills.
The renovation of the Cook Building began in 2000, but the Charter School’s redesign project began in 1997 when Berry was selected as one of nine colleges in the Southeast to receive a grant from the BellSouth Foundation.
The BellSouth grant enabled Berry education faculty to totally rebuild the curriculum to focus on producing teachers who are grounded in the liberal arts, equipped to use the latest technology and trained to work in culturally diverse classrooms, McDowell said.
“We are actually preparing teachers now to lead in classrooms well into the middle part of this century,” she stated