Local students roll up their sleeves and lend a hand to revamp Bridgeport Visitor Center
The Bridgeport Visitor Center needs a makeover. The paint’s flaking off, photos tacked to the wall are fading and turning yellow, the furniture is all clad in vintage vinyl and the TV on the wall playing advertisements is the size of milk crate.
Brianna Brown’s 7th and 8th Grade class at Bridgeport Elementary School is volunteering for the job. The class has grand plans to beautify and modernize the small building located on Emigrant Street next to the Mono County Museum. It’s also next to a park and playground equipment, and there’s cool old farming equipment next to the museum.
The students want to replace the fading photos, get a TV from this century and have information on every business in town available for visitors. They want to create walking tours of the historic sites, maybe create a Bridgeport scavenger hunt, and let people know what there is to do outside, year-round. The kids are hip to the times—it is their time, after all—and they want to see charging stations and WiFi to get people to stay and look for a while.
The project is part of service learning, Brown told The Sheet. Brown defined service learning as a teaching strategy that integrates community service with instruction. The Eastern Sierra Unified School District adopted the service learning program in 2010 and Brown promptly started a recycling program. Her students participate in California Coastal Cleanup Days in September at local beaches at Twin Lakes and Bridgeport Reservoir. The students are made aware of where garbage comes from and learn ways to reduce litter.
The kids also assist the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and the Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action (IMACA).
Brown asked the kids to assess the damage themselves in the Visitor Center project. They were instructed to inspect and find what was broken, physically or from a marketing standpoint, and what is the best for promoting the community.
Signage is badly needed to attract people in and to help visitors find the place, the students found. The kids have done field research of neighboring visitor centers to see what works.
Brown said signage on the highway will be discussed later.