Beyond the Build

Community Service

Our Latest READesign


9-12-14 Scott and TeacherThis week, these pictures came to me from one of our leads, Scott Priestley. He’s working with a teacher to put finishing touches on a Heart of America READesign library makeover at West Manor Elementary in Atlanta. It’s the 10th one we’ve completed, and they just keep getting better.

ArtOur folks have been involved with this initiative for several years, working with Target on school libraries from New Orleans through Birmingham to Charlotte. A particularly fun one we did was with KIPP Believe College Prep, a charter school in New Orleans. The library makeover was featured on the Oprah Winfrey farewell show.

DeskThe idea is to partner with the teachers of each school to turn libraries into warm, friendly places that engage children to learn. (Good readers make good students, having a higher aptitude for learning.) The makeover involves new structures in some cases, new paint and lighting along with new furniture and carpet. The final addition is up to 2,000 new, high-quality library books. Our latest at West Manor included demolition, new lighting, news walls, painting and carpet along with shelves, furniture and wall murals.

The program alone may not transform communities, but it’s a start. Who knows? Maybe the early love of reading these children find in their new library is just the spark needed to be successful in the classroom and in the future. Our folks are proud to be a part.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.