By Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com
Northside Elementary Principal Pete Armstrong said Monday and Tuesday were anxious days this week as he had to keep staff away from preparations going on behind the closed door of the teacher lounge. Inside, Cleveland Walmart employees were busily working on last-minute details of a refurbishment project.
The “big reveal” was held Wednesday. Staff lined up outside the lounge door to watch as Townsend, assisted by Walmart’s Community Development Leader Debra Terry, cut the ribbon to officially reopen the room for Northside employees.
The changes took many of the school employees by surprise, with some excited to see new paint and decor and others happy to try out the two new futons.
“I was very excited to show the staff. In the past, we’ve not had such a luxurious room. This is a mansion compared to what we had,” Townsend said. “Walmart did an extremely good job of making this a little more like home. This will make teachers happy, and happy teachers are the best thing for our campus. That means increased productivity in the classroom.”
The walls in the lounge, previously some nondescript shade of tan, are now a soothing slate-gray. An accent wall is painted aqua blue. Cabinets that line one wall are now a dark gray. The furnishings are complementary to the color scheme. In addition to two new futons, the lounge now has a new rug, lamps, coffee table, curtains, two new microwaves and a Keurig coffeemaker.
Northside Elementary was picked by Cleveland Walmart for the lounge makeover because Walmart store employees felt it was being underserved.
“It was the school we felt wasn’t getting enough attention. We wanted to come and see what we could do for them. When we first saw the lounge, it didn’t look calming to us. We wanted to give them a relaxing environment where they can come in and enjoy their lunch and breaks,” Terry said.
Aaron Weddington, the store manager for Cleveland Walmart, was unable to attend the reveal because of prior commitments, but sent a message with Terry to share with school employees.
“We have the honor of being able to give something of ourselves because of the tireless work that you all do. We do not take for granted your patience and determination to stimulate the minds of our youth,” Weddington wrote. “Please remember that this community and your Cleveland Walmart thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. Enjoy and have an outstanding school year.”