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PPS receives $1.5M in state funding for a media production space at Peoria High School

Peoria High School is getting a dedicated space for media content production to help students develop and enhance digital learning skills.

In presenting $1.5 million in state funding for the project, state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth said the “P-Media” studio will broaden access to core content areas like graphic design, photography, music and podcast production, and 2-D and 3-D digital design.

“It is an innovative, 21st century, teen digital learning space that will exclusively be here at Peoria High School, with an emphasis on digital, visual, and print media,” Gordon-Booth said Thursday during a news conference in the Peoria High gym with the bleachers filled with students.

Gordon-Booth was joined by state Sen. Dave Koehler in presenting the funding provided in the state’s budget for the 2023 fiscal year. Others attending Thursday’s presentation included Peoria Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Kherat, Board of Education President Greg Wilson and Vice President Martha Ross, and Peoria High Principal Dr. Annette Coleman.

“This is our chance to shine and to show the rest of Illinois that we mean some business when we talk about funding the opportunities for successful students, because that's what this is about,” said Koehler.

“This is an exciting moment in time for Peoria High School and its students. Any investment of $1 million or more to our schools is a huge deal and deserves to be celebrated,” added Wilson. “As a school board and as your school board president, we will continue to work with administration, teachers, elected officials, and you the students to provide the best in modern resources, facilities and technology.”

Gordon-Booth called the planned space “one of its kind” for central Illinois.

“The 21st century is going to require our young people to have access to technology very early in their lives. We know that graphic artists, digital artists, content creation, that isn't a novelty, it's a reality – and in business, it's a necessity,” said Gordon-Booth. “We want our young people to be able to go out in the world and be second to nobody, so we're going to make sure that they have the tools for success right here.”

Kherat said existing space at Peoria High will be repurposed to accommodate the “P-Media” production space. She said project planning will take place during the upcoming school year, with implementation expected in 2023-24.

Gordon-Booth said the key benefit students will get from the digital media production space comes from exposure to opportunities.

“Our young people need to be able to see what they can be. We can't expect people to dream about things that they've never seen; they have to see it – and they're not only going to see it. The young people that are with us in this room today, they're going to be it.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.