S. Routt plans for preschool

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— The South Routt School Board plans to decide within a month on a site for the South Routt Early Learning Center.

Construction of the center is expected to start in spring 2007, and three sites are being considered.

The proposed sites are a field at South Routt Elementary School in Yampa, a lot behind Soroco High School in Oak Creek and a plot of land in Stagecoach -- donated to the school district by developer Brian Stahl -- across from Eagle's Nest Townhomes on Routt County Road 16.

Last week, a site selection committee consisting of Rod Olinger, Lisa Constine, Tina Holliday and Julie Spitzley hosted public forums near each of the proposed sites.

Superintendent Kelly Reed said there is further opportunity for public comment at an upcoming School Board meeting, Thursday night in the district's Administration Building behind the high school.

The selection committee will make a report to board members at that meeting, Reed said.

The report will be partly based on data from a survey that rated the three sites on 37 criteria, including building factors such as soil conditions, drainage and utility access, and social factors such as demographics and activities available in the area.



What: Meeting of the South Routt School BoardWhen: 7 p.m. ThursdayWhere: Administration Building behind Soroco High School in Oak Creek

The survey, which uses a system in which lower scores are better, gave Yampa the best rating as a site for the center. Yampa received a score of 237.5, better than Stagecoach's 309.5 and Oak Creek's 318.

Reed said the survey is only one part of the information that will be used to choose a site.

"I don't know which will be the top-rated site at this time; there are extenuating factors with each site," Reed said. "At this point, no decision has been made."

Reed said driving distance and proximity to recreation areas such as city parks are the two primary concerns he has heard from the public thus far.

Holliday said people at the Yampa forum touted that town as the most centrally located site, considering families in McCoy and Toponas, south of Yampa.

Holliday has a daughter in preschool at the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Education Services, or BOCES, center in Oak Creek, which she said is the only option for preschool in South Routt.

Reed said the sooner the School Board decides on a site, the sooner funding efforts can progress.

"The board needs to make a decision within the next 35 days so that we can put together a grant to go ahead with the next part of the process," Reed said. "That's what we hope to do."

-- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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