James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center
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James Rushton Early Learning & Family Success Center

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The James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center project included a 14,800 SF redevelopment of an existing bank building and adjoining warehouse facility in Woodlawn.

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The historic community of Woodlawn, once a thriving Birmingham neighborhood, has in recent years fallen victim to a cycle of poverty, and a lack of opportunity for citizens. The most affected by this decline are the children and youth. The James Rushton 1 Foundation, in partnership with the Woodlawn Foundation, have identified these issues and formed the Woodlawn Effect – a $7 million campaign to raise funds for what they have termed a “cradle-to-college” career education initiative. The foundation is built upon the premise of breaking the cycle of poverty by empowering the next generation – leading and teaching them to make a difference in their community.

More than $3 million of the money raised was allocated to build the James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center, the pipeline for the education initiative.

Murray constructed the 14,800 SF facility which houses classrooms, multi-purpose space, a cafeteria, and secure indoor and outdoor play areas. This initial phase of the project required demolition of the former Southtrust Bank building, and partial demolition of a warehouse which will be utilized in the second phase.  Sitework included extensive coordination with adjoining neighbors for the necessary site enhancements needed to allow for  vacation of an alley, relocation of all site utilities, and a larger parking area and cross accessibility.   A second phase of the project is planned, and will incorporate an additional 12,000 SF of space to be used for educational programs and outreach for the entire community. The project is scheduled for completion in January 2017.

"Sometimes in life, we find ourselves with a chance to do something great. For some of us, opportunity knocks more often—but if you grow up in a community trapped in the unrelenting cycle of poverty, those moments can be few and far between. So what happens when you’re given the chance to help one person achieve something great? When you seize the opportunity to support a community to change its course? When your cause has an effect that resonates through our entire city? That’s The Woodlawn Effect."

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