Armed with paint brushes, pruners and push brooms, more than 300 employees of are spending Thursday and Friday transforming a Cleveland school.
Margaret Ireland Elementary School, at the corner of E. 63rd Street and Chester Avenue, is going to be a Positive Education Program school for students with emotional issues. It opens this coming school year.
Hyland Software partnered with HandsOn Northeast Ohio, an organization that connects people and companies with volunteer opportunities, for the project.
Lisa Johnson, corporate responsibility manager for Hyland, said the PEP project fit the company's service goals almost to a T.
"Our focus is youth, education and technology," she said.
Volunteers were spending the days painting walls, getting rid of wildly overgrown shrubs and plants in the schoolyard, and clearing the parking lot of debris. They will also help install smart boards, interactive white boards for the classrooms.
Jeff Griffiths, executive director of HandsOn, said that Hyland's volunteers saved PEP as much as $30,000 in labor costs. That's on top of not having to buy or rent scaffolds and ladders, provided by HandsOn for the project.
"This is an enormous project, a 56,000 square foot building," said Dr. Frank Fecser, CEO of PEP. "And every bit of it needs painting or cleaning. Money's tight for schools. This is just the answer to a prayer. It's a tremendous gift, one that will help us give these children a safe, welcoming environment for learning and emotional growth."
Hyland and its employees also raised $75,000 for the project.
Once the school is open, Johnson said Hyland will look for ways for its employees to be hands-on in the school, helping students.