Back to School Surprise: CRTKL’s Social Action Committee Gifts Two Updated Staff Spaces to Mount Auburn Elementary

Angela Crum September 6, 2022

Mount Auburn Elementary School is minutes from our office in Dallas, Texas, and has recently completed an almost two-year construction upgrade. Unfortunately, not all their spaces received a renovation — including the staff lounges.

I saw a request on social media for used furniture donations for the lounges made by one of the school administrators, and I shared it with my team – knowing we had the resources and connections to give these teachers the upgrade they deserve. After a quick call with the school, it was clear that CRTKL could support the wellbeing of their staff through more than just furniture. We wanted to give both lounges the facelifts they missed out on and make it a surprise to the entire staff as they returned for the school year, teeing up the perfect way to celebrate the school’s 101st Anniversary.

The lounge BEFORE


The lounge BEFORE

After just two weeks of planning, our team from the Dallas office started bright and early on a Saturday morning and completed most of our project in one day, finishing with the furniture installation the following Monday. We provided multifunctional spaces allowing food preparation, dining, planning, conversation, and – most importantly – respite.

We removed the existing tack boards and mirrors and patched and painted the walls with a few vibrant accent colors. We gave the rooms new furniture – donated from OFS, a manufacturer whose local representative lives minutes from the school, and delivered by Department of Wonder. Interface donated a large format, carpet-tile rug to anchor the lounge area. Faux floral arrangements and greenery peppered each space, bringing the outdoors in, and unique accessories were the cherry on top. CRTKL’s Social Action Committee donated funds which allowed us to purchase new kitchen appliances,  large-scale artwork to be featured on the accent walls, and stock the kitchen with snacks and coffee. We also had an in-house donation of framed photography from Eduardo (“Eddie”) Castañeda, one of our talented CRTKL designers, which gave the spaces a pop of much-needed color.

The lounge AFTER!
The lounge AFTER!

Project completion took just over one day, but its impact will last long into the future. We are thrilled to celebrate the school’s 101st Anniversary Celebration and partner on future projects!

I sincerely wanted to thank everyone involved in this project: Michael St. Clair, Eduardo Castañeda, David Cullers, Claudia Belzer, Rohan Saklecha, Eric Bell, Rubi Sanchez-Romo, and Lenora Devine.

CRTKL staff
Teachers enjoying their new space 🙂










Author Spotlight

Angela Crum
Angela is an associate principal and licensed interior designer in the healthcare practice at CRTKL. Her deep understanding of the built environment and focus on human-centered design are reflected in her conversational style and thoughtful approach to design solutions that positively impact people and their communities. For over fourteen years, Angela has influenced projects through research, implementation of sustainability, Evidence-Based Design, and Human-Centered Design best practices, as well as her expertise in project management, client relations, technical review, and consultant coordination.