Two major donors ponied up $3 million Thursday to expand the Guadalupe School, which has helped the poor and non-English speakers since 1966.
The Janet Q. Lawson Foundation gave $2 million and the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation provided $1 million toward a new 50,000-square-foot building at a new location, 1385 N. 1200 West, next to the Rose Park Golf Course.
School officials have collected a total of $5.4 million in pledges toward a goal of $8.3 million.
"We'll make it; we know we will," Vicki Mori, Guadalupe's executive director, said to applause at an outdoor news conference.
Chris Redgrave of Zions Bank announced a matching grant of up to $250,000 for any private donations.
The Guadalupe School offers five major programs for residents of west Salt Lake City, helping toddlers, elementary schoolchildren, parents with newborns and adults. All participants live at or below the poverty level; 94 percent are minorities; 64 percent are English-language learners; and 4 percent are homeless.
Mori said the new building means students won't have to transition after the fourth grade to another school but will be able to attend Guadalupe through sixth grade, adding more than 300 students to its current 127 charter students.
In 1966, Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, with leadership from Father Jerald Merrill, founded The Guadalupe Center, which began as a gathering place for the city's Latino community and evolved into educational programs.
The La Morena Café opened at the Guadalupe Center, and the proceeds helped fund the Adult Education Program, which provided English as a Second Language instruction to immigrants and refugees.
In 1970, the center added a school, and in 1992, officials expanded by adding an Early Learning Center Preschool program. Today, officials like to say they offer services from cradle to grave.
Tax-deductible donations for the new school can be made at Guadalupeschoolslc.org or calling 801-531-6100.