FAIRFIELD — The city will meet with school officials Tuesday to present its proposal to turn the vacant Sullivan Middle School into a youth services center, which could one day house the Matt Garcia PAL Center.
The Fairfield-Suisun School District will hold a joint meeting with city staff and police to discuss housing several services under one roof. The meeting takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the district office located at 2490 Hilborn Road.
Dubbed the Interagency Youth Services Center for now, City Manager Sean Quinn said he hopes it will become a place for troubled youth to get the resources they need to avoid suspension or expulsion. He also talked about a home for mentoring and tutoring for children.
“Kids have gone through the PAL Center and they want to give back, but there’s not a place to do that,” he said.
Sullivan Middle School was closed earlier this school year during budget cuts. Its location, 2195 Union Ave., is attractive for the center due to the space and because is where many of the people it serves live, Quinn said.
If approved, the site would also one day be the new home for the Matt Garcia PAL Center. Quinn said the lease for the current location on Travis Boulevard expires in 2017. Aside from saving money – the lease costs $152,000 a year – the center has become so successful that it is outgrowing its current location, Quinn said.
“We’ve always assumed that in 2017 we would be looking for more locations,” Quinn said.
Some of the proposed services to locate at the center include school resource officers, crime and violence prevention, truancy remediation, youth and family services center, probation, counseling and a food and clothing closet, among many others.
Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet said intervening with children at a young age before they are drawn into crime is imperative. He said locating all those services on one campus would help centralize the various areas of help some children need.
“Once they fall through the cracks and hit the street, it’s hard to get them back,” Tibbet said.
He said Sullivan also has room for nonprofits that serve youth, both to meet and to provide services. He said many groups actively look for ways to help and somewhere to do it.
The plan already has strong support from school district staff. Superintendent Jacki Cottingim-Dias, who will retire at the end of the current school year, said she looks forward to the partnership.
“It’s the perfect project to end my career with,” she said.
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.