School officials open Crystal Learning Center

Robbinsdale Superintendent Carlton Jenkins cuts the ribbon on the new Crystal Learning Center, with assistance from Patsy Green, school board member, Crystal Mayor Jim Adams, and Michael Herring, school board member. A collection of school and community leaders attended the ceremony. The learning center will serve as a new home for several Robbinsdale Area Schools programs. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)
Robbinsdale Superintendent Carlton Jenkins cuts the ribbon on the new Crystal Learning Center, with assistance from Patsy Green, school board member, Crystal Mayor Jim Adams, and Michael Herring, school board member. A collection of school and community leaders attended the ceremony. The learning center will serve as a new home for several Robbinsdale Area Schools programs. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)

A crowd of city, school district and legislative leaders gathered Thursday, Sept. 1 to formally open a new hub for Robbinsdale Area Schools’ adult and community education programs.

The Crystal Learning Center will be home to the school district’s Adult Academic Program, Welcome Center, Robbinsdale Transition Center, and some complementary early childhood programming.

Executive Director of Community Education Kristine Wehrkamp said the new facility – which takes up several storefronts in the Crystal Shopping Mall near Bass Lake Road and West Broadway – is in a prime location for program students, who may be sharpening their English skills, working toward a GED, or exploring careers or post-secondary education options. A beaming Superintendent Carlton Jenkins said that three people had already enrolled in programming at the center.

“This is bigger than just an education system. This is what education is really about,” Jenkins said, adding that nearby businesses will benefit from the center’s presence.

The new learning center houses several existing programs that needed a new location after the district’s months-long facilities and programming evaluation due to rising elementary and middle school enrollment. The school board voted to re-open Sandburg Learning Center as an attendance area middle school and sent most of the programming located in the building to the Crystal Shopping Center. The school board approved a 15-year lease for the 43,000 square foot space in November and documents supplied at a board meeting indicate the district will pay about $1.22 million over the life of the lease.

The Crystal Shopping Center is owned and run by St. Paul-based Paster Properties.

Contact Joe Bowen at [email protected]