Centro Hispano began construction of a new facility to serve the Latinx community in Madison on Feb. 22.
Centro Hispano is the leading nonprofit that serves Madison’s Latinx population. Their programs focus on youth, families and communities by offering employment services, community workshops, classes and celebrations.
Centro Hispano’s current facility is located on West Badger Road.
The new building will be a 25,000-square-foot facility, allowing Centro Hispano to expand their reach. Jamie Quam, Centro’s director of development, said the new facility will better serve the community’s needs than the current one.
“The new facility will provide increased safety for staff and the community, sustainability in building design, enhanced accessibility, and the square footage needed for safe expansion of youth and workforce programs to meet community needs,” Quam said.
Centro Hispano currently serves about 7,000 individuals a year. They plan to help at least 1,000 more community members a year in the new building and double their enrollment in afterschool and workforce programs.
The new space plans to include an indoor and outdoor plaza space for community events. The space will also offer more parking options.
The city of Madison sold several vacant properties on the 800 Block of Hughes Place in South Madison to Centro Hispano for $1 and purchased Centro’s old building.
City Planning, Community and Economic Director Matt Wachter said the trade between the city and Centro supports long-term growth in South Madison.
“This ‘land swap’ with Centro unlocks the highest and best use potential of a key gateway block in South Madison by utilizing surplus City land and supporting the long-term growth and stability of a long-term community partner,” Wachter said.
Campaign CENTRO has raised $16.4 million of its $20 million campaign goal for the new facility.
The fundraiser dollars will go toward building the bigger, more accessible facility. Larger spaces will increase the number of people Centro can serve in classroom and meeting settings, according to Quam.
Centro said in a press release the center will offer a place where Latinx families in Madison can receive resources to reach their goals.
“Our vision is for Dane County to be a community where Latinx families can aspire upward, to reach their personal goals and dreams because they feel engaged and strengthened with the tools for success,” Centro said.
The city has additional redevelopment plans for the surrounding area, including constructing additional affordable housing units and other community-service buildings. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in a press release the new Centro building aligns with a broader redevelopment plan for South Madison.
“This purchase not only helps support Centro’s capital campaign for the new facility, but also advances the City’s own redevelopment initiatives consistent with the South Madison Neighborhood Plan adopted by the Common Council last year,” Rhodes-Conway said.
Centro hopes to open their new facility by February 2024, according to Quam.