Calhoun, Ga. -- This year, Georgia students and faculty at seven schools returned to dynamic media centers, music rooms, workspaces and other inspired education interiors with a new look and energy thanks to Mohawk Industries and Georgia United Foundation’s School Crashers program.

Since the first “crashes” six years ago, Mohawk Industries’ commercial division, Mohawk Group, and the Foundation, part of Georgia United Credit Union, have worked together to renovate and refresh select public schools and foster much-needed renovations. Each spring, hundreds of schools across the state apply for facility makeovers, sharing a list of specific needs and why their campus would benefit from the program.

The school makeover program is designed to unite communities to complete and support local improvement projects for deserving schools. One grand prize winner receives a school makeover funded by the Foundation; runner-up schools receive grants for specific projects.

“Georgia United Foundation takes great pride in being active and responsible members of the communities we serve and believes giving back is not just the right way, but the only way,” said Debbie Smith, Georgia United Credit Union’s president and CEO. “We are excited to provide campus improvements to 10 schools in total this year, which will positively impact thousands of students. Over the last six years, donors, volunteers and communities have assisted us in providing more than $1 million in school improvements to 33 schools, and we are appreciative of our donor partners like Mohawk for their generous support.”

This year’s grand prize winner was Toney Elementary School in Decatur, Ga., which received a donation of Living Product commercial carpet planks from Mohawk Group’s Nutopia and Lichen collections for installation in the media center, faculty lounge, and principal’s office. Notably, Lichen’s Living Product Challenge Petal Certification was achieved in part through its water conservation strategy at Morehouse College in neighboring Atlanta, where Mohawk Group donated 140 water-saving showerheads.

Toney Elementary, which dates back to 1952, has 350 students and 43 faculty and staff members—all of whom returned to school this month to find a variety of rehabilitated indoor and outdoor areas. With the help of more than 150 volunteers, the school received a new outdoor classroom, a STEM garden with native vegetation, parking lot enhancements, new landscaping and custom murals. In addition to the new Mohawk Group carpeting inside the school, the facility upgrade also included an updated computer lab, fresh paint, new furniture and a mural of the school mascot to greet guests at the main entrance.

“My dream and my vision is that the kids will come to school, surrounded by everything that is new, with a new attitude for this new school year,” said Karen Dukes, Ph.D., the teacher who nominated Toney Elementary for the crash. “I am beyond excited that students will have a revitalized courtyard and inspiring indoor learning spaces to enjoy.”

As the official flooring partner in this year’s School Crashers program, Mohawk also provided grants in the form of commercial carpet tile and adhesive donations for a combination of media centers and music rooms in six other Georgia schools: Beaverdale Elementary, Dalton; Cohutta Elementary, Cohutta; Briar Vista Elementary, Atlanta; East Laurens Elementary, Dublin; Stone Mountain Elementary, Stone Mountain; and Cousins Middle, Covington. All renovations were completed just in time for the beginning of the 2019–20 school year.

“We know that a student’s environment plays an important role in their school experience," said said David Dembowitz, senior vice president of education and government for Mohawk Group. "That’s why we felt it was important to participate again in this year’s program to improve and enhance these learning spaces for both students and faculty. School Crashers creates a meaningful opportunity and perfect partnership for Mohawk to serve the communities where we live, work and play, while also using our expertise and understanding of the specific needs of education interiors.”

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