Chicago Daily Herald
Aurora’s finance committee has approved plans for an early childhood center on the city’s east side.
The proposed $5.5 million, 23,000-square-foot facility will be built on Root Street along the west bank of the Fox River. The proposal will be sent to the city council’s committee of the whole on July 20.
The city has received slightly more than $2 million from the state’s 2009 capital bill to get construction rolling. And Wednesday, One Hope United, the organization selected to run the facility, received a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley to be used toward the construction of the Aurora Early Learning Center.
One Hope United is a nonprofit human service agency offering child development, child abuse prevention and family preservation programs as well as counseling, youth and placement services.
The center’s teaching curriculum will promote a healthy and environmentally friendly lifestyle for the children and families it serves. The facility itself will be a Silver LEED Certified Green Building. Many staff members will be bilingual.
“We are excited to lead this early education project in the Aurora community and appreciate the tremendous demonstration of support from the foundation for this important community project,” Executive Director Mark McHugh said. “Research shows that for every dollar invested in high-quality early education, communities see a $16 return on the investment through factors like improved outcomes in school and higher rates of high school completion.”
According to statistics provided by the organization, Aurora shows significant need for full-day early education and child care services because current resources serve only 31 percent of children in need, leaving 7,300 children without a full-day, full-year program.
Mayor Tom Weisner said the city has recognized the need for more day care and early education centers for about 12 years. Aldermen are expected to approve final financial and physical plans for the center on July 27.