Vandals delay school opening

North Routt preschool facility aims for April finish

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Construction on the new North Routt Preschool continues in Clark. The preschool is scheduled to open in April, but funds still are needed to help pay for final construction costs.

Schools are the colorful thread in the fabric of any community, which is why North Routt residents are looking forward to the opening of the North Routt Preschool.

Delayed by vandalism to the preschool's plumbing in late November, the North Routt child care center is slated to open in mid- to late-April, preschool board president Stephanie Anderson said.

In addition to being able to work with children between the ages of 3 and 5, the new North Routt Preschool will be able to help children 2 years and younger, including infants as young as 6 weeks old.

"There are getting to be more working parents living in North Routt," Anderson said. "The nice thing that we are really excited about, with the North Routt Community Charter School doing so well, the kids who leave the preschool and go to the charter school, we will be able to measure their readiness."

The North Routt Community Charter School works with children in kindergarten through eighth grade, which means parents can have their children cared for and educated in North Routt from infancy until they are ready for high school.

"I have a waiting list," said Nancy White, director of the North Routt Preschool, which is housed at Moon Hill. "We are unique in the sense that we are very flexible. Out here, I like to work with the families individually and be as flexible as possible."

Ground broke on the new preschool in August, and Delta Construction had the building enclosed on schedule before the snow began to fall in Clark.

Nearly two years after beginning the fundraising process to get the preschool built, White sees the end approaching, but final costs are projected to be more than the initial $637,000 bid.

Construction costs in the post-Hurricane Katrina era has affected North Routt. Rising costs coupled with the inability to secure a local construction company helped push costs over budget.

White and Anderson are hopeful to raise the final $50,000 to $70,000 in funds before the school opens in April. Donations are tax deductible.

"The idea is we would open debt free so all our money would go to our quality programming," White said. "If we don't raise all the money for construction, parents will end up paying for it."

White and Anderson thanked those who have pledged money to the project and to those giving in-kind donations of money and other assistance.

"It has been great to see the support," said Anderson, whose two children went to the North Routt Preschool and have graduated to the North Routt Community Charter School. "It continues to the broader sense of community."

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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