SALT LAKE CITY — A groundbreaking Wednesday for a new community learning center between an elementary school and a middle school brings with it the promise of health and education services for students in Salt Lake City.
Construction of the tentatively named Glendale/Mountain View Community Learning Center is now under way, with a goal of providing medical facilities to the community along with alleviating crowded classrooms at Mountain View Elementary and Glendale Middle School, which are next to each other.
"I can't tell you how many times we have sent children home that need to be seen by a doctor before they can come back, because maybe they have pink eye," said Kerri Taddie, Communications Learning Center coordinator.
"As a teacher, you take the time out of your day to find resources to help a child get glasses or to help the parent get connected with the person that can help them on top of teaching," she said. "And we wonder why they are not successful and it's because they have to do ten jobs."
The $4.4 million learning center is scheduled to open in May 2013 with most of the funding for the center coming from the Salt Lake City School District. The district is putting in $3.5 million with the rest coming from Salt Lake City and private donations, according to Mike Williams, CEO of the Salt Lake Education Foundation.
The center will include buildings for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, adult education and a health clinic that would include vision, dental and mental health services, among other programs for the Glendale and surrounding communities.
Taddie said the medical facilities will help parents who struggle to find money for medical care and transportation needed to receive it.
"That is holding them back from learning. That is pushing them behind the other students in the classroom," she said.
Mountain View was built for 500 students but now has more than 600 students.
The center will have five kindergarten classrooms that will eliminate the bungalows that are currently installed to accommodate overcrowded classrooms.
The learning center gives aid to both schools and the community because of several partnerships, including with the University of Utah, which will provide health, education and social work services, Taddie said.