Charter school to occupy Old Clark Schoolhouse

Charter school to occupy Old Clark Schoolhouse

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— The North Routt Charter School will be housed in the Old Clark Schoolhouse, where 40 years ago north Routt children attended school each day, as of this September.

The charter board initially planned to teach the 18 children enrolled in the school at the Moonhill Schoolhouse south of Clark, but took advantage of the goodwill of some local business people to lease the larger Clark school.

That increase in space will allow the school to grow.

The schoolhouse and the nearby gymnasium and teacherage, located near the Clark Store, were nominated for placement on the Routt County Register of Historic Places by the county's preservation board Tuesday night and will be put to a vote by the Routt County commissioners on July 10.

That designation may help the school receive grants for the facility.

A five-member group bought the schoolhouse Friday from private owners who had been holding on to the property since 1978. While three of the local members wished to remain anonymous, the other two include The Industrial Company and Mike Autrey of Re/Max.

The group, called the Elk River Eagle LLC, plans to hold the title for about a year, after which a nonprofit group made up of North Routt community members will take over.

The North Routt School will rent the building, covering the full extent of the mortgage, said charter board member Shaunna Watterson.

Much like the old one-room schoolhouses that used to dot the landscape of Routt County, the school will be open to the community for everyone to use, Watterson said.

"We foresee it as being very much a community center and I think people are really excited about having that again," she said.

Jay Fetcher, a North Routt rancher who went to the Clark School just before the Steamboat district was reorganized, said the community revolved around the old schoolhouse before it changed its use.

"The center of the community was that school," he said. "Everything happened there. The school continued to exist (as a community center) even after it closed down."

"But what drove the interest was the fact that the kids were there. It was the same with the Moonhill Schoolhouse. The activity wasn't nearly as high afterwards because there were no kids there."

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