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Davenport’s Lincoln School Re-Opens As Community Center

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A Quad City school that shut down in April 2012 due to budget cuts is back open.

After being closed for more than a year, Lincoln Academy is supporting the Davenport School District once again.

"It actually is serving the whole community, so actually it's still representing what it's made for," says Theresa Hauman, Senior Recreation Manager for the City of Davenport's Parks and Recreation Department.

Lincoln's library has become the Stepping Stones Community Center. The office is home base for the after-school program that takes place every day in every one of Davenport's 17 elementary schools.

"Between the hours of 3pm and 6pm is critical for children," says Shaney Ford, Out of School Time Program Manager for the Davenport Community School District.

"The data is very clear that students who receive extra time and extra help do better in school," says Jennifer Best with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

To do that in Davenport, three partners signed a certificate on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 for National "Lights On After School" Day. The three parties include the City of Davenport which provides the employees, the Iowa State University Extension which provides the research, and the Davenport Community School District which provides the facilities.

"This is an everybody issue," says Best. "This is not just for people with school-aged children. This is not just an issue for people in education. This is a community issue."

Ford says Stepping Stones has grown in its 14 years. It now helps around 800 students every day. Organizers say using Lincoln as their home base will allow them to help even more.

"You'd be amazed how much our program has improved," says Best. "Even though we don't actually serve children in this building, we just have a better space in which to operate from."

"Even though it's not necessarily being used as a school, it's being utilized by the community in so many different ways," says Ford. "We would like to provide services for all students and that is what our goal is eventually."

Stepping Stones is sharing the first floor of Lincoln with Head Start, Children's Village, and the Davenport School District's home school office.

Ford says the District is looking for tenants who want to take up the other floors as well.