Hot Topic Golf

Campuses for Tiger Woods Learning Center set to open in Washington

A rendering of the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif., is shown. The two D.C. campuses are slated for a fall opening.
A rendering of the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif., is shown. The two D.C. campuses are slated for a fall opening. (David Mcnew/getty Images)
By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

After a three-year search for a location, Tiger Woods's charitable foundation will announce Tuesday that it plans to open campuses for the Tiger Woods Learning Center this fall at a pair of District charter schools, following through on a pledge to make Washington the East Coast base for Woods's philanthropic efforts.

The campuses will be located at two branches of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, one on Capitol Hill in Ward 6, the other just off the Anacostia Freeway in Ward 7 in Northeast, and are due to have construction completed in mid-August, with openings in October.

"I'm excited we are moving forward on this initiative in the Washington, D.C. community," Woods said in a statement released through his Tiger Woods Foundation. "The two campuses will bring the best of our curriculum to some very deserving kids. A lot of people have helped to make this happen, and I'm very grateful for their support."

Woods has one learning center open in Anaheim, Calif., where underprivileged children in grade 5 through high school concentrate not on golf, but take classes ranging from forensic science to graphic design. Officials from Woods's foundation intended to open a similar center in Washington -- and still may do so -- but struggled to find an appropriate, affordable piece of property to rent, renovate or buy.

"What we've decided to do was to commit to the campus model right now," Greg McLaughlin, CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation, said by phone. "And then I think we're going to evaluate from there and see exactly how well it's working out. But we absolutely have not ruled out doing a bigger facility, by any means."

Woods's foundation will hire between five and eight staff members for the two campuses, which will be housed in renovated space within the two schools, and foundation officials said they hope to serve more than 2,000 children over the course of the 2010-11 school year. The curriculum will focus on career exploration in science, technology, engineering, math and communications.

The Chavez schools, opened in 1998, have four campuses in the District that serve more than 1,400 students in grades 6-12. Some programs will be open to other District students, but Chavez students will have the first opportunities.

"We envision it being something that our students will benefit from a great deal," said Jeff Cooper, the managing director and chief operating officer of the Chavez schools. "It'll bring great technological resources, and they've got a reputation of having a lot of success out in California. We're really excited about what these programs can bring our students."

Woods's plans to establish an eastern base in Washington coincided with the introduction of his AT&T National tournament on the PGA Tour, which was held in 2007-09 at Congressional Country Club. Because the Bethesda club underwent a reconstruction of its greens last summer and fall and will host the U.S. Open next year, the AT&T National -- which benefits Woods's foundation -- is taking a two-year hiatus at Aronimink Golf Club outside Philadelphia.

McLaughlin said the foundation is committed to keeping its presence in Washington, but likely won't make an evaluation of whether to continue the campus model or to build a permanent facility -- the space in Anaheim covers some 35,000 square feet -- until after the AT&T National returns in 2012 to Congressional, which has a contract to host the event through 2014.

"We wanted an East Coast footprint, and what better place to do it?" McLaughlin said. "We've received tremendous support in the city and from donors and corporations. We're not anticipating the tournament leaving. It's the exact opposite, actually. This will be a great litmus test for us with the learning centers to see how this model works."

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