Central Falls – Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa and Central Falls Superintendent Victor Capellan joined the McKenna family in opening the doors of the $1.8 million McKenna Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research. The collaboration, which included Rhode Island College, has transformed a community eye sore and publicly known drug property into a state-of-the-art resource and tutoring center for all of Central Falls youth.
“The McKenna Center comes as a testament of what can happen when we work together for the future of our youth; the City, the school district, Rhode Island College, and, most importantly the McKenna family," said Mayor James A. Diossa. “We are very thankful for the generosity of the McKenna family, whose legacy over the past several decades, both as educators and philanthropists, is paving the way for a new era of services for our youth.”
The Center, directly across from the Central Falls High School, was widely known as a drug house and had sat boarded up. The now beautiful Victorian house is set to be fully functioning for the 2018-2019 academic year. It will open Monday through Saturday for the city’s public and charter school students serving as a location for educational meetings, classes, and a much need afterschool tutoring program.
“Today’s opening is an exciting next step in the district’s redesign work and is essential to the city’s revitalization and economic development efforts,” said Superintendent Capellan. “Along with meeting the goals and needs of our young people, the McKenna Center will become a driver for how we can redesign urban education, spur community development, and promote and maintain healthy communities.”
The McKenna Center, symbolic of the Central Falls’ comeback, also displays the partnership that has thrived in recent years between the City, School District, and Rhode Island College. Students at Central Falls High School who meet the criteria are offered conditional acceptance to the college their junior year. Furthermore, the City of Central Falls is working with the college to bring a satellite campus on Dexter Street to the city.
Navigant Credit Union, Pawtucket Credit Union, and the Rhode Island Foundation are also amongst the organizations that joined the McKenna Family in making the McKenna Center a reality.