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Ogden-Jenner Teachers Get Revamped, $23,000 Lounge (For Free) As A ‘Thank You’

The upgraded, $23,000 lounge was donated to the school by Walter E. Smithe.

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SOUTH LOOP — Ogden-Jenner will have a completely new teachers lounge when classes start Tuesday.

The lounge is a thank-you gift to teachers from Walter E. Smithe Furniture, which estimates the value of the makeover at $23,000. It was handled by designer Maureen Smithe, who said the furniture company donated its resources to the newly merged school to show support for its faculty.

“It’s really a fresh start for everybody at both Ogden and Jenner, and we just wanted to show the teachers at Jenner, especially, their community supports them and we’re excited for all the things ahead of them,” Smithe said.

The lounge will be put together on Friday, the last business day before classes start Tuesday, but Smithe said her team had been working with the school since June. The design and furniture creation process “kicked it into high gear in the last month,” she said.

Smithe hopes the lounge can be a place where teachers can relax and collaborate. With that in mind, the designer planned for the room to have a lounge area where there’s a large sectional and chairs, as well as a second area with a dining table and chairs for the faculty to eat at.

It was a challenge because Smithe is used to planning for residences, she said, so she had to pull back from accessorizing and focus more on practical things like choosing fabrics that clean easily in case of stains or spills.

“We’re super grateful for what teachers do in general, and we just hope that all teachers see this lounge makeover as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the work they all do,” Smithe said.

Furniture in the new lounge: