Saturday, August 31, 2002
Steamboat Springs The Christian Heritage School will begin the school year with new state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities.
"We're still focused on keeping high-quality education now we can expand on that quality," parent Jon Smalley said.
The school has added a computer lab, science lab, Sport Court gym, improved cafeteria, art and music rooms, a library and preschool because of the ingenuity and hard work of Smalley and parents, George Bennett and John Dobell.
"People have been very generous. We had some parents who stepped up to the plate," Smalley said.
The computer lab will have new Dell computers with high-speed Internet access.
Smalley said the school has talked to Colorado Mountain College about offering online courses for high school students preparing for college.
"We went and asked a lot of questions and had the involvement of different entities," he said.
For the development of the science lab, parents talked to the local science teachers for advice on the construction.
"We're hoping we've got one of the top science labs in the town now," he said.
The increase in technology provides students with greater opportunities for learning, he said.
The cost of the improvements discouraged some parents and board members from completing all projects proposed.
Dobell said he didn't want to stall the process and found it necessary for structural reasons to make all the changes at once.
"It was an evolution," he said.
Bennett was responsible for finding the best deal on materials. Smalley said the improvements to the school would have cost $1 million, but through donated labor and the saved cost of materials, the improvements totaled $300,000.
"It was a great three-way team," Smalley said.
A highlight of the school's improvements is the new gym with a floor similar to many college-level gyms. Dobell said finishing the gym was a primary goal because it was loud and not the best environment for children to play.
He said the new floor is a more forgiving surface that is better on the joints.
The preschool also has access to the gym, cafeteria and other facilities in the school.
The preschool added a nice element to the school and has already started with success, Smalley said.
He said the mentoring the preschoolers receive from the older students is amazing and a benefit to the younger kids.
The Christian Heritage School was built in a day four years ago with help of the community.
Smalley said community members finished what was necessary at the time to get the school open.
Since then, he said, there have been classrooms and facilities in the building that still needed to be completed.
He said by increasing what the school offers he hopes to see greater enrollment and more community involvement in the school.
"We're very excited for the kids. When you see all the smiling faces that's what makes it all worthwhile," Smalley said.