In addition to new pencils, notebooks and backpacks, the children of Woodridge Park Apartments have also started the school year with a new after-school facility in their complex.
New Futures, the King County Housing Authority, and many partners including Woodridge Park residents, Congressman Jim McDermott, Burien Mayor Brian Bennett, and Highline School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield, will celebrate the grand opening of the new Woodridge Park/New Futures community center on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The facility is located at Woodridge Park Apartments, 12400 28th Ave. South, in Burien.
Community members and New Futures’ Board of Directors, staff, participants, and supporters are invited to attend.
"As a mother, a former pre-school teacher, and school board member, I know what a difference access to after-school programs and resources can make for students," said Sen. Patty Murray. "This new facility is a great investment in ensuring our students have access to the resources they need to succeed."
Previously, New Futures operated its programs out of three converted apartment units in the complex. With the new facility in operation, these apartments are now available for rent to three additional families and New Futures can offer its early learning, after school, youth and family programs in one vibrant space.
“This new home for New Futures at Woodridge Park not only makes our staff and participants fell welcome and special, but it promotes the sharing of ideas and creates opportunities for collaboration among staff and programs, now that we’re all under one brand new roof,” said New Futures Executive Director Jenn Ramirez Robson.
Designed by Schemata Workshop, Inc., the new 2,250 square-foot building was built with both learning and fun in mind. It features a classroom, multipurpose activity room, kitchen and dedicated computer lab. With its vivid red exterior and prominent art installation, the building is a striking focal point at Woodridge Park.
New Futures provides a mix of programs designed to meet the needs of children and their families. Approximately 85 children, along with their parents, are enrolled in programs at Woodridge Park.
“This facility provides a significant opportunity to low-income families,” said Congressman Jim McDermott. “By supporting children and their families with appropriate resources, we know we can positively affect the rest of their lives. The after-school programs will inspire children to learn, keep them safe, and relieve working parents of worries about how their children are spending their afternoons.”
The King County Housing Authority, which owns the 201-unit Woodridge Park Apartments, developed the project and oversaw its construction. Construction began in December 2011 and was completed in August at a cost of $735,000. Additional funding was provided through an economic development initiative grant sponsored by Congressman McDermott and Sen. Murray. The project employed 48 construction workers.
“We are grateful to Sen. Murray and Rep. McDermott for their support of this vital community resource,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority. “Children are our future – and education is the key to a better future. While providing stable housing is an important step in helping kids to do well in school, it is not in itself enough. We’re pleased to be partnering with New Futures and the Highline School District to help young people achieve academic success and reach for their dreams.”
New Futures partners with families and educators to ensure that children succeed in school and life. The nonprofit operates where the need is greatest – at low-income apartment complexes in South King County – an area with the highest rates of poverty and lowest test scores in all of King County. New Futures provides on-site child and youth, family, and community-building programs to more than 1,200 people at three King County Housing Authority rental communities, including Woodridge Park, on an annual basis. New Futures works one-on-one with individual children and their parents, and promotes broader systemic change that will allow minority students to achieve academic success.
The King County Housing Authority houses 20,000 low-income children every night. The Woodridge Park facility is part of a network of 20 early learning and after-school facilities that the Authority has built and supports around the County. KCHA is committed to working with schools, parents, and students to give all children in the region the opportunity to succeed.
KCHA administers a range of quality affordable rental and homeownership programs in the Puget Sound region. The Authority serves more than 18,000 families and elderly and disabled households on a daily basis.