Groundbreaking set for new, expanded Robinson Community Learning Center

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The Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) exterior rendering

The Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) exterior rendering

The University of Notre Dame will host a groundbreaking at 5 p.m. Monday (Aug. 26) for the new Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC).

Located just south of Notre Dame, the RCLC is a learning center and gathering place for Northeast Neighborhood residents, offering educational programming for youth and adults as well as classes, clubs and lectures for seniors.

The center hosts Take Ten, a youth violence prevention program, and the Robinson Shakespeare Company, an award-winning theater and outreach program for area youth.

Scheduled for completion in 2020, the new 12,600-square-foot center, featuring new and expanded learning and gathering spaces, was designed by Alliance Architects of South Bend with input from RCLC youth, staff and neighbors.

Financed with support from multiple sources, including Kite Realty and the Judd Leighton Foundation, the new facility will replace the existing 7,500-square-foot RCLC, which opened across the street in a former shopping center at 921 N. Eddy St., South Bend, in 2001.

That location, north of Corby Boulevard, is slated for redevelopment as part of Eddy Street Commons, a mixed-use development along Eddy Street south of campus that features apartments, condos, townhomes and hotels, as well as 178,500 square feet of office, restaurant and retail space and the new RCLC.

Representing nearly $300 million in investment, Eddy Street Commons is a collaboration between Notre Dame and Kite, a real estate company out of Indianapolis, with support from the city of South Bend.

“The planning of our new home reflects years of input from the RCLC community,” said Jennifer Knapp Beudert, RCLC manager. “We are excited that the new building will bring opportunities, will honor our past and will uphold the RCLC culture and values.”

In addition to on-site parking, green space and natural light — the current RCLC lacks windows — the new center, at Eddy and Howard streets, will feature:

The Robinson Community Learning Center black box renderingRobinson Community Learning Center black box rendering

• A “black box” multi-use performance space for the Robinson Shakespeare Company. The space may also be used for music, dance and other activities, and as a community resource.

• A maker space/technology lab. With support from the Chicago Blackhawks and National Hockey League, the maker space and lab will provide access to computers, printers and other technology as well as “maker” materials and supplies, and it will support professional training and development.

• A state-of-the-art early childhood classroom. The classroom will support existing classes and programs, including English as a new or second language programs and Talk with Your Baby. The classroom will meet state standards for licensing and Paths to Quality, Indiana’s rating system for early childhood care and education.

• An industrial kitchen. The kitchen will support snack and meal programs for RCLC students. It will meet all health, safety and licensing standards.

The new center will also feature a number of familiar spaces, including a large gathering room beyond the entryway, a large multipurpose classroom, a library and a conference room.

The Robinson Community Learning Center child care renderingRobinson Community Learning Center child care rendering

The colorful murals that decorate the south side of the current building will be relocated to the front of the new building, near the entrance.

Mia Copeland is an RCLC parent and board member.

“As an RCLC parent, the youth programs have afforded my children opportunities and experiences that don’t exist in other youth programs in this community,” Copeland said, describing it as “an amazing community of people dedicated to fostering the potential of our amazing children.”

She continued: “As an RCLC board member, some decisions come easier than others, but our actions will always be based on what’s best for the kids, what’s best for the RCLC and what’s best for the community we serve. I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for the new RCLC.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “The Robinson Community Learning Center is a South Bend treasure made possible through strong partnership with the University of Notre Dame. We can’t wait to see our young residents thrive in the new space.”

Monday’s groundbreaking will feature remarks from Shannon Cullinan, executive vice president of Notre Dame, and Rev. Edward “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University, in addition to light refreshments. It will take place at the northeast corner of Howard and Eddy streets, across the street from the current center.

For more information, visit rclc.nd.edu/new-rclc.

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127, eblasko@nd.edu