Construction of a new North Routt Preschool could begin this fall thanks in part to a six-figure grant from a state agency.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs recently awarded a $330,000 community development block grant to the North Routt Preschool for a $550,000 facility that officials hope to build near a charter school in Clark.
"We're very excited," said Stephanie Anderson, a North Routt Preschool Board member. "We're very grateful to the (Routt County Board of) Commissioners and the Department of Local Affairs."
The preschool group must meet several grant contingencies before it can use the money for construction costs. One of the contingencies is that the preschool must raise all the money needed for the project by Dec. 1. The preschool also must enter into a written agreement with Routt County, hold a public hearing on the project, complete federal environmental review and clearance requirements and enter into a contract with the Department of Local Affairs, according to a letter sent by the Department of Local Affairs to Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison.
Anderson said the preschool is awaiting the results of two other pending grant applications but is confident the money will be in place by the Dec. 1 deadline.
"With a combination of grant funding and community support, we're confident we'll be able to raise the money," Anderson said.
Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said the county is pleased to help secure outside funding for local projects. As a requirement of the community development block grant program, local boards of county commissioners had to prioritize block grant requests before the applicants could submit them to the state. The commissioners support the plan for a new North Routt Preschool facility, Monger said.
"We're pleased we can bring state and federal monies in here to help us with some of our needs," Monger said Monday.
The preschool is housed in the historic Moonhill Schoolhouse south of Clark. Preschool officials cite several reasons for the desire to expand and relocate, including a high demand for infant and toddler care, a desire to coordinate educational programs with the North Routt Community Charter School and a desire to centralize the North Routt community's two education facilities.
A new center could be licensed to care for 15 children at a time, Anderson said. It also could provide care for up to five infants and five toddlers, an area of child care sorely lacking in the county. The preschool is yet to secure a building site for the proposed facility.
Preschool officials hope to be able to break ground on a new facility this fall, Anderson said. Any proposed facility also would need to go through the county's planning process.
"It will be a great thing for all the families in North Routt," Anderson said.
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