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LEAVING THE BARRACKS

Gary Moskowitz

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE -- Gertrude Ness, 96, remembers seeing the World

War II Army barracks that were to become her classrooms back around 1960

for the first time.

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And to Ness, the former head teacher at the district’s Child

Development Center, it wasn’t a pretty sight. But the completion Friday

of the center’s new facility on the campus of Cerritos Elementary School

is a sight to be seen.

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The construction of the new Child Development Center is part of a

$13-million Measure K building project at Cerritos Elementary.

Since Ness’s departure from the center in 1974, the center has

remained in the three Army barracks on the campus of Cerritos until this

week. Current staff and students began moving into new facilities Friday,

facilities that will eventually house all of Cerritos Elementary’s

classrooms.

“It was supposed to be temporary from the beginning. When I first saw

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those things they were still up on blocks and all I could see was rotted

lumber underneath and couldn’t even get in they were so high,” Ness said.

“They were old in the first place. I always called them the ‘old

barracks.’ ”

Ness added, “I always think about that place, how lovely it became and

how much fun the kids had there. It turned out to be a nice place after

all, a place I loved and called home.”

Vic Pallos, spokesman for the district, said the center became a

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necessity during World War II when large numbers of Glendale mothers went

to work in local factories to help support the war effort.

Roz Engman, current head teacher at the Child Development Center, said

the new, four-room facility within the new Cerritos Elementary facility

has been much anticipated.

“This is like the Taj Mahal compared to the old buildings,” Engman

joked. “The students have been watching the new buildings be built, and

they take pride in it. They know they have to help us take care of our

new environment.”

The center operates with six certificated teachers and 20 staff. The

center educates 85 preschoolers, 52 school-age children and 17 students

enrolled in a recreational program. The center’s curriculum is aligned

with state and district standards.

Program Supervisor Deidre Corwin said the new center will include

teacher preparation areas and each classroom will have two computers.

Students enrolled in the center will also be able to use a joint

playground and outside lunch area with Cerritos Elementary, Corwin said.


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