West Metro Non-Profit Benefits from Bonding Bill: Kids with Disabilities to Receive More Help

Updated: 05/16/2014 10:21 PM
Created: 05/16/2014 8:32 PM
By: Brandi Powell

One of the organizations that will get help because of the bonding bill is a West Metro non-profit called St. David's Center for Child and Family Development.

It's a special school in Minnetonka that helps children of all ability levels, including those who have autism.

Now, these children are set to have even brighter futures.

"Oh my goodness, just thrilled beyond belief, you know hard to keep the tears back," said Julie Sjordal, the non-profit's Executive Director. She is excited about the passage of the state's bonding bill. "It was such a thrill to be there at this momentous moment to watch them pass this bill and what it means for us and for kids across our community."

Kids at St. David's Center will soon receive the benefits of $3.75 million worth of expansion and renovation projects. "To have legislators understand what we're trying to accomplish and believe in it with us is a big deal," Sjordal said.

It's such a big deal because everyday 400 children from across the metro are served right here, plus hundreds more at its partner community sites.

"The reach of St. David's is huge," said parent Anne Spaeth. Once construction is finished, St. David's will be able to double the amount of children it serves within four years.

Sjordal gave 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a close-up look at what will be revamped, which includes, building an autism day treatment center, a pediatric therapy clinic, bigger classrooms, four more occupational therapy rooms, an improved children's mental health service, and a revitalized playground that will be re-located to have a better connection with the forest.

"Our son, like our other 2 sons who attended St. David's love the playground," Spaeth said. She is looking forward to that part of the construction. "I'm very grateful that our family has been touched by St. David's Center," Spaeth said.

Construction will begin late fall or early spring.

It will take up to 1 1/2 years to complete, but will stay in full-operation mode during renovations.

However, St. David's still needs to finish raising the $8.25 million its putting toward the project. They're 10 percent away from their goal.

Click here to learn how to donate.

St. David's released the following statement:

"St. David's Center's Board, staff and community offer heartfelt thanks to our hard-working Legislators. We especially thank the chief authors of our bill, Senator Terri Bonoff and Representative John Benson. Their advocacy on behalf of St. David's Center's project shows their belief in the importance of supporting children and families. Thanks also to Representative Alice Hausman and Senator LeRoy Stumpf for their thoughtful leadership in their respective capital investment committees. We are now awaiting for the bill to become law with the final signature of Governor Mark Dayton, who has been a strong supporter of our mission across the community."


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