Aurora gets look at early learning center
Aldermen got their first real look Tuesday at the proposed early childhood education center planned for Aurora's east side.
The proposed $5.5 million, two-story, 22,000-square-foot facility targeted on Root Street along the west bank of the Fox River has been designed to "fit in with the neighborhood and the adjacent Fred Rodgers Community Center.
The city has received slightly more than $2 million from the state's 2009 capital bill to get construction rolling. And 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.
"It will be a nice addition to the community and something we desperately need," said Second Ward Alderman Juany Garza, whose ward would house the facility. "Our families are working and need a low-cost child care option."
While the facility will be aimed low-income families, with fees ranging from $5 to $50 per week, depending on family size and income, Executive Director Mark McHugh said the center will work with local school districts to ensure children are ready to enter elementary school.
"We're a center for early learning, and children in our care will be prepared for elementary school when that time comes," McHugh said. "We use a widely-used curriculum, and we track the students developmental progress two or three times per year."
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.
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.