Warm colors, new furniture

Routt County Human Services dedicates new offices

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— Michael Sidinger recently was called to the Steamboat Springs police station to pick up three runaway juveniles from another state. He kept them up talking for several hours before transferring them to Routt County Human Services. Then he did something he could not have done several months ago.

Sidinger is the child welfare program supervisor at Human Services. When he ushered his three charges into the agency's new offices on Sixth Street, he invited them to relax on a collection of overstuffed faux leather couches and chairs.

"They slept all day until their parents could arrive," Sidinger said. "In our old offices, the conference room was the only place we'd have been able to put them."

Human Services does critical work, day in and day out, that most of the community is oblivious to. The 17 staff members work with families in conflict and handle emotionally charged child custody cases.

Now, the staff has a newly remodeled building at 135 Sixth St. that provides for the pragmatic needs of Human Services, while providing a homey atmosphere for clients and staff.

"That was probably the most complicated part of the (job)," architect Cyd Pougiales of Thira Inc. said. "We had to meet the needs of the staff and its need for safety while fulfilling our goal of providing a nurturing and supportive atmosphere for families."

The building was originally a mortuary and later served as offices for the Visiting Nurse Association. Recently, it housed Routt County United Way and other county offices. The remodeling was part of a $285,000 project that also is refurbishing space in the courthouse annex across the street.

Thira Inc. provided interior design services for the new Human Services quarters, and the design touches are readily evident ---- whimsical end tables from Zing in Steamboat, interior doors refinished in a warm mahogany tone, bright carpeting and colorful artwork by Human Services clients on the walls.

"People feel good about this building," Sidinger said. "Everyone has a window in their office. It makes a difference."

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