James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center
The James Rushton Early Learning and Family Success Center is a 28,000 square-foot child care center and preschool developed by the Woodlawn Foundation and the James Rushton I Foundation at 5512 1st Avenue South in Woodlawn.
The center occupies a fully-renovated former bank branch at the corner of 55th Street South. It was developed in two phases, with the Early Learning Center opening in January 2017 and the Family Success Center opening later. Construction and initial operation was funded primarily through a capital campaign with additional support from New Market Tax Credits provided through the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
TurnerBatson architects designed the contemporary-style renovation, which features a prominent green "W" formed by the diagonal supports for the outer wall of the entrance lobby. Construction of the $4.25 million first phase was completed by the Murray Building Company.
The early learning center, operated by the Rushton Foundation, can serve up to 100 students from 6-weeks to 4 years old. It is intended to provide services in support of the Woodlawn Foundation's Woodlawn Innovation Network, a broad-ranging campaign to enhance educational opportunities in Birmingham City Schools feeding into Woodlawn High School. Admission policies favor neighborhood residents and scholarships are available for lower-income families. In addition to classrooms, the preschool features indoor and outdoor play areas and multi-purpose spaces.