Town increases contribution to vocation

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— Hayden taxpayers will pitch in to help the Hayden School District expand its vocational education program.

Trustees at a Hayden Town Board meeting Thursday night voted to give $20,000 to the project. That is in addition to $3,000 the town already had budgeted for vocational education programs in the district.

"The board did exactly as I had suggested and gave them $20,000 with the thought that at some future point when the town knows what its resources are, we will reconsider any additional funding based on the town's financial position," Hayden Town Manager Russ Martin said.

Including the town's contribution, Hayden Superinten-

dent Mike Luppes said about $180,000 has been raised to expand the district's vocational education building, which shares space with the district's bus barn.

"We're very pleased," Luppes said. "It was one (funding source) we didn't know about for sure - and to be honest, it was one that surprised me. That was not a funding source that I counted on when we started."

Mountain Valley Bank and the Hayden Economic Development Commission are spearheading the fundraising effort. The building expansion project has been characterized as important for economic development not only in Hayden, but throughout the region because the classes create skilled workers.

Several local organizations and businesses also have contributed, including The Industrial Company in Steamboat Springs, which gave $60,000. The goal is to raise $250,000 in private donations by Feb. 24 so officials can show the community backs the projects when it is time to apply for an Energy and Mineral Impact Grant.

Vocational classes are in high demand not only by Hayden High School students, but also residents from throughout the Yampa Valley.

"We truly see this as a valley-wide project," Luppes said. "Our goal is to have this building open for 16 hours a day. Obviously this is going to be beneficial to the school, but we also feel that these are important classes that are beneficial to Hayden and the entire valley."

- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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