Vocational building renamed

School Board thanks Babson Carpenter Foundation for contribution

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— The Hayden School Board thanked the Babson Carpenter Foundation's monetary gift to the future of vocational education by voting Wednesday to name the new vocational building after the foundation.

The Babson Carpenter Foundation, established by Ferry Carpenter and Henry Babson, contributed $130,000 to the now-named Babson Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center, which is the second-largest gift the foundation has awarded to a Hayden business or group in its history.

"I think it would be outstanding to have that name," Secondary Principal Troy Zabel said before the board unanimously awarded naming rights to the Babson Carpenter Foundation.

Board president Brian Hoza said he approved of using the name Babson Carpenter on the vocational building because it signified how important the community has been in raising funds. The Babson Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center also is expected to be a building used by many residents of Northwest Colorado.

During Wednesday's School Board meeting, Kevin Kleckler, the district's career and technical education director, handed out a revised list of contributions and reminded the board that grant applications for an Energy and Mineral Impact Grant are due to the Routt County Commissioners today.

Kleckler and other district officials are seeking $500,000 in grant money from the state to put toward completion and equipping of the new vocational building. The first step in the grant process is applying and receiving an endorsement from local commissioners.

An applicant's ability to provide matching funds and its ability to demonstrate community-wide support are important elements in the process.

With the Babson Carpenter Foundation contribution, and the giving of an additional $400,000 from area businesses, families and organizations, many area residents have stepped up to move the Hayden School District closer to realizing its dream of creating a large, well-equipped building better able to meet the growing demands of area students and adults, Kleckler said.

"The support is up and down the valley from Steamboat Springs to Hayden to Moffat County," he added. "There are no boundaries. It's pretty neat."

Hoza also thanked Kleckler for his fundraising efforts. Kleckler teamed up with Terry Jost, president and CEO of Mountain Valley Bank and Jack Giessinger, president of the Hayden Economic Development Committee, to convince area businesses to help contribute to the education of potential employees.

"We are quite ecstatic about everyone's contributions and belief in our programs," Kleckler said. "It's pretty overwhelming."

Kleckler added he still is waiting to hear back from several donors who are interested in contributing but have not determined a final figure. The more than $500,000 the fundraising team has raised in about six weeks demonstrates a Yampa Valley interest in seeing a center built.

Final bids have not been received for the project, but an initial bid for the basic structure is $840,000, Superintendent Mike Luppes said Wednesday. Additional money will have to be spent on the interior needs, and Kleckler has estimated the final project will exceed the $1 million mark.

Hayden has brought in enough dollars from private donations to begin construction this summer, which Jost urged the School Board to do. Receiving a $500,000 Energy Impact Grant would enable Hayden to complete the project in a relatively short amount of time.

"Part of the commitment we've made to these people who have pledged a serious amount of money was that we were moving forward with this building right away," Jost said Wednesday. "You all know about the construction going up and down this valley. I really think it's essential for this project to move forward. I don't think we can wait until August to build this building."

August is when Energy Impact Grant money will officially be awarded, which Hayden is counting on to finish the project, but Jost was confident the success of fundraising thus far should prove to the School Board the interest to begin construction is there.

"We've probably got another $100,000 to $150,000 out there we are chasing right now, plus people we haven't talked to, plus grants we could go get if we have to," Jost said. "From the business sector, we are going to make sure we raise the money. We have put our neck out on the line with the public, and that's part of the reason they have come forward with that kind of support."

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak has indicated Hayden's application for Energy and Mineral Impact Grant money to build a vocational center to help educate potential and current employees in energy or mineral-related fields follows closely with the grant's criteria.

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

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