North Routt charter school getting closer to reality | SteamboatToday.com

North Routt charter school getting closer to reality

Jack Weinstein

The new North Routt Community Charter School will be 12,600 square feet with six classrooms, offices and a large community space. School officials hope to occupy the building in January 2012.

— The North Routt Community Charter School took a big step toward building a new facility Thursday. School officials closed on documents that will allow allocation of state grant funding to help pay for the new building's construction.

The charter school off Routt County Road 62 in Clark was awarded a nearly $3.2 million Building Excellent Schools Today grant in fall from the state's Capital Construction Assis­tance program. The grant required a nearly $800,000 match, which the school previously secured.

Building a new facility will allow the charter school, which is at capacity, to expand to 100 from the 70 students it currently serves.

"This has been a four-year-long project," charter school Director Colleen Poole said. "There's been a lot of ups and downs and some heartache along the way. But the outcome has been worth all of that, all of the effort."

The charter school was awarded the grant in 2009, but the Cap­ital Con­struction Assist­ance Board rescinded the grant after expressing concerns that a majority of the grant match was secured with a loan. At that time, the match was $1.7 million.

The Assistance Board also expressed concern that the charter school had proposed to build on land it didn't own, which has since been addressed, Poole said. She thanked the Stranahan family, of Clark, for making available, for $60,000, a portion of the land where the North Routt Preschool sits. It's only a quarter-mile from the charter school's existing location.

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Poole said the Stranahan family was just one of several local families who supported the new school project. She thanked the staff, community and Steamboat Springs School District for supporting the school's efforts.

The Steamboat Springs School Board last week approved a resolution to sign its portion of the closing documents. As North Routt's chartering authority — its funding flows through the Steamboat district — Steamboat had to sign off on the grant.

The new 12,600-square-foot school will be nearly four times as large as the existing three school buildings.

It will have six classrooms, offices, space for a school nurse and a large community gathering space. Poole said the facility would be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold-certified.

Michael J.K. Olsen Architects and Calcon Constructors, both of Steamboat, will design and build the school.

Construction is expected to start in spring with occupation anticipated for January 2012.

"I just think overall, this is going to be a wonderful thing for the North Routt community, both as a school and a community center," Poole said. "I think it will be an asset for this community for many years to come."

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