Member News: June 2023
Pilot program provides teachers with wellness lounges
A former elementary school teacher, Sara Rowan felt her heart sink when she walked into the teachers’ lounge at Johnston Square Elementary School. Worn and neglected, the room contained a table and six mismatched, broken chairs. The AC unit had failed and the space was experiencing a rodent problem.
“It was essentially a storage room for old, broken things,” Rowan said. “I know how much teachers need and use lounges. No one would use that room for anything.”
Teachers didn’t lounge there. They didn’t even have lunch there, opting instead to simply eat in their classrooms.
So Rowan, now an Account Manager at Price Modern, was thrilled to have the opportunity to transform the space through the Educator Support Collaborative. The collation of nonprofits and supporters works to create opportunities to celebrate and support public school teachers in Baltimore City. For its inaugural program, the collaborative enlisted the support of local design firms and furniture dealers to complete Educator Wellness Lounge Makeovers in six city schools.
Working with Arris Design Studio, Price Modern completed a floor-to-ceiling transformation of the Johnston Square teachers’ lounge. The existing floor was ripped out and replaced. New paint, lighting, custom millwork, curtains, area rug and a functioning AC unit transformed the space. The project team added a modern table and six chairs, a sofa, lounge chairs, coffee table, lamps, a glass whiteboard, height-adjustable desk, refrigerator, microwave, water cooler and Keurig.
“We leveraged all of our contacts, all of our relationships to bring the whole space together for free,” Rowan said.
Towards the end of the project, members of the team used their own resources to add a full range of “finetuning items” – coffee mugs, whiteboard markers, a trash can and bags, artwork and accessories, a Bluetooth sound tower and even plastic containers to safely store food. Surplus donations also provided new chairs and conference table to the school’s principal, vice principal and receptionist.
“We worked to give the teachers what they wanted,” Rowan said. “What we heard from them is they needed a space that was calming. They are dealing with kids all day long so we gave them a space to sit, eat, work, take a breath, talk things out with each other and come together to celebrate things like birthdays, weddings and new babies.”
However, Rowan and other people involved in the Educator Wellness Lounge project wanted to extend their partnership with the schools beyond one construction project.
“The school is 1.5 miles from Price Modern’s office. We are part of the same community,” she said.
After surveying teachers about their needs, Rowan launched an ongoing monthly campaign that collects needed items — such as healthy snacks, school supplies and mittens for kids — and delivers them to Johnston Square Elementary.
BC&E welcomes two new members
Based in Westminster, Aero Electric specializes in commercial construction and telecommunications. In business since 2013, Aero also provides design/build services.
Based in Columbia, IMEC Group is an integrated engineering and construction management firm specializing in built environment. An SBA 8(a) certified firm, IMEC serves clients across the Mid-Atlantic and the Carolinas and specializes in projects in the government, healthcare and higher education markets.