$350,000 S. Routt preschool grant moves ahead

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Routt County commissioners have approved a grant of more than $350,000 to help fund construction of the new South Routt Early Learning Center.

Construction of the new center is planned for a Yampa site adjacent to South Routt Elementary School. The site is in a field north of the school at the corner of Main Street and Fifth Street. Jan Kaminski of Mountain Architecture Design Group, P.C., designed the floor plan for the new center.

The plan includes more than 2,500 square feet of space with two classrooms, staff offices, a family room and several covered porches. Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said the grant application, which asks for $351,624, will next go before the state Department of Local Affairs, likely in late October or early November.

"I can't say how pleased I am not only with this application, but with the process that South Routt schools and BOCES went through to get to this point," Stahoviak said.

The Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, will manage the early learning center with the South Routt School District.

A previous state grant funded a lengthy information gathering process over the past several months. The process included three public forums in South Routt, a demographic analysis of population growth throughout the school district and a multi-faceted feasibility study of three possible sites for the new school.

John McCollum, president of the South Routt Early Learning Center board, said Tuesday's approval by county commissioners keeps construction plans on schedule for possible groundbreaking in the spring of 2007, pending local affairs approval in the fall.

"We would use the winter to get plan specs all figured out, with a detailed budget, and hopefully be ready to go next spring," McCollum said Wednesday.

McCollum said preschool classes will continue in the current South Routt Early Learning Center in Oak Creek, which offers two half-day classes. With two classrooms, the new center will be able to offer a total of four half-day classes, for 15 students each, doubling the preschool capacity for South Routt.

"We certainly have that demand," Kelly Reed, superintendent of South Routt schools, told commissioners Tuesday.

McCollum said the sale of the current early learning center will help fund construction of the new facility.

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