SALT LAKE CITY — Guadalupe School has provided educational support to disadvantaged children and non-English speaking adults for more than 40 years.
Now it's one big step closer to a brand new building that will help them serve many more people.
The school has announced a capital campaign called "A New Building. A New Hope," as they look to build a new community learning center on Salt Lake's west side.
At a press conference on Thursday, Zions Bank pledged to match up to $250,000 in private donations and the Janet Q. Lawson Foundation donated $2 million, bringing the Guadalupe School substantially closer to its goal of $8.3 million. The foundation will have the opportunity to name the school's campus.
"It's a large gift but you just have to look in the kids eyes and see their potential and future and without this investment you wonder whether or not they would be able to achieve their goals in life," said Charles Livsey from the Lawson Foundation.
With windmills in hand, children in the program formed a human outline of the footprint of the new 50,000 square foot building, nearly four times as large as the current school.
"We're just excited that they're going to be able to expand, to be able to service more community members and be able to help more kids and more adults in our community," said Lawson Foundation trustee Ellen Rossi.
The school has many success stories, including Jorge Fierro, who launched the successful Rico Brands foods and Salt Lake's Frida Bistro restaurant. He attended Guadalupe as an adult learner.
Despite the large gifts, Guadalupe still has a long ways to go. The school needs another $2.8 million before they start construction. The families who benefit are grateful for every dollar.
"Thank you, thank you so much for help us to make this school," said parent Sandra Perez. "To make more programs for the families and for teaching the parents more."
Guadalupe board president Greg Summerhays says the new building will help the school achieve its three main goals: to increase enrollment, provide continuity in education and to centralize services and staff.
"We are deeply encouraged by and thankful for the tremendous support we've already received for our vision of a community school — a forward-facing institution that will further enrich the cultural and educational opportunities of our students," Summerhays said.
The new building is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.