Groundbreaking Ceremony


After five years of dreaming, planning, and fundraising, Sara Holbrook Community Center is celebrating the construction of its new facility at 66 North Avenue, Burlington. The Sara Holbrook Center’s staff, board of directors, investment partners, and capital campaign supporters will gather for a groundbreaking ceremony in front of the construction site on Tuesday, June 4th at 3:30 pm. Event speakers include SHCC Board of Directors Chair Kathy Schirling, SHCC Executive Director Leisa Pollander, Honorary Capital Campaign Chair Frank Donath, Sheila Reed for Senator Bernie Sanders, John Tracy for Senator Patrick Leahy, and Mayor Miro Weinberger.

The development project includes the renovation and expansion of its current facility from   5,000 to 12,000 square feet, which will allow the Center to serve more children and families in Burlington. Now in its 83rd year and solidly anchored in Burlington’s North End, the organization serves 1,100 children each year at its three locations—the main facility at 66 North Avenue, a teen drop-in center at the Miller Center on Gosse Court, and the middle school enrichment program based at Hunt Middle School.

“Having outgrown the small North Avenue facility, dreaming of an expanded Sara Holbrook Center went on for several years,” said Executive Director Leisa Pollander. “Then in the spring of 2015, we took a bold step forward when two generous donors came forth, one leaving a bequest large enough for Sara Holbrook Center to purchase the adjoining lot, and the second acquiring and donating another lot which vastly expanded possibilities for the Center.”

With nearly twice the land to work with, planning began for a facility that would include more classrooms and meeting spaces, a gymnasium, an art room, a teaching kitchen, a toddler room, a natural outdoor playground, additional, secluded parking, a secure reception area, and a street front pull-in drop-off area for vehicles.

The silent phase of the Center’s “Believe in “Tomorrow, Believe in Success” capital campaign began in late 2015. On May 11th, 2018, the Center launched the public phase of the campaign with a festive celebration, having reached nearly 65% of its $3.9 million goal.

With just under 25% left to raise, the project preparation is well underway. At the end of April, the Center’s staff and programs relocated to its temporary home at St. Mark’s Catholic Parish on North Avenue. The two adjacent houses next to the facility have since been demolished.