District staff, community contributors welcomed at library open house

Abigail Guadnola, Arapahoe Herald Reporter

On Thursday, Oct. 29, Arapahoe High School’s newly renovated library was opened to the Littleton Public School District’s staff members, and to the donors and employees of companies who contributed to the remodeling and redesign of the library after the events of Dec. 13, 2013.

The evening featured tours led by members of the committees who were involved with the remodeling as well as a variety of guests. Among the visitors were superintendent Scott Murphy, former Arapahoe High School vice principal Bryan Jesse, and members of the board of education including President Lucie Stanish, Vice President Carrie Warren-Gully, Secretary Mary Nichols and Assistant Secretary Jack Reutzel. In addition to the numerous tours and guests, an address from principal Natalie Pramenko was also part of the evening. Pramenko thanked a variety of people who contributed to the remodeling of the library and described the overall process of the redesign.

Pramenko said the library actually received very little damage during the events of Dec. 13, 2013  and that the original plan had been to reopen the library when students returned for the second semester of school. However, after much consideration and planning, it was decided that the library should be remodeled for the benefit of students and staff who were in the library at the time of the shooting, because if the library remained the same it would be a continual reminder of that day. Thus through a series of committees and the efforts of countless individuals and businesses, the AHS library was reshaped and turned into the transformed space guests viewed on Thursday night.

“The showcase was an opportunity to show appreciation to all of our designers and donors and a chance for them to see the space finished,” Pramenko said.

Among those recognized were businesses and organizations such as Great West Financial, The Boettcher Foundation, the Alpha Phi Building Association, JP Morgan Chase, South Suburban Men’s Golf Club as well as the King Soopers store across from AHS. Many of these groups contributed to the creation of the new library by hosting fundraisers and raising community awareness which made the creation of the library possible.

In addition, Pramenko went on to thank a variety of other contributors such as Cris Goldy, Blaine Dodgion, Mike Schneider of GH Phipps Construction; Carmen Yon of Yon Tanner Architecture; Clara Muller of MEP Engineering; Stephanie Maxey of Elements Furnishings, as well as Sharon Marquez of First Continental.

To conclude her speech, Pramenko talked about her experience watching students enter the library for the first time after Dec. 13 and emphasized how amazing it was to watch the students exploring every aspect of the space. She described the day as the moment students truly reclaimed their school in its entirety.

“Watching the students go into the library was so overwhelming and very heartwarming. It was really a form of closure and at the same time a step into the future,” said Pramenko.

She also talked about how students have taken advantage of the space and told a story of how a freshman struggling to find their place at Arapahoe ventured into the library and found a home inside its comforting and well-designed walls.

For many contributors, this was their first time actually seeing the fully completed space. Pramenko also extended an invitation for those in attendance to visit the library “in action.”

“I think the library really says ‘never give up.’ Never let somebody else define who you  are and what you stand for; and if you do that, you are gonna come back stronger,” said library secretary Karla Brachtenbach. “You can take something bad and turn it into something good, and I think that’s what we did.”