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