Steamboat Springs South Routt's Early Learning Center is one step closer to groundbreaking.
South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed told the School Board on Thursday that the $700,000 project is moving forward and he expects the center to be ready for the 2008-09 school year. The district soon plans to advertise for soil bids.
"We are putting out for bids shortly and we are going to have an Early Learning Center board meeting Thursday to line up and set some dates," Reed said. "We'll have a better idea of a timeline (for groundbreaking) after Thursday night's meeting."
The new Early Learning Center, a preschool, will be built near South Routt Elementary School in Yampa.
"We are excited to get the process started," he said. "If all falls into place, we may have construction beginning in August or early September."
Plans for the new Early Learning Center began more than two years ago. The new facility will include 2,500 square feet of space with two classrooms, staff offices, a family room and several covered porches.
Also Thursday, the board approved a $4.1 million preliminary budget, which was up slightly from last year.
"The budget may be up, but expenses inched up as well," Reed said.
He added that the board will find out during the second week in July whether the district received a grant to replace boiler plants at Soroco High School and South Routt Elementary School.
"There's been no word on the grant, but we'll have confirmation at the July board meeting," he said.
Reed also updated the board on planning and possible acquisition of an agricultural greenhouse to be built next to the district's vocational agriculture building. Funds for the project would be raised with grants and private donations with no district funds expended.
"As of now, it needs the board's permission to go through," he said. "We live in an area where we have mining and we can teach these kids a trade in how to go back in a mining area and reclaim the land."
Reed said the greenhouse would be used to teach students how to grow native grasses and produce grass seeds to plant at mining sites that have been stripped of vegetation.
"It could be an amazing teaching tool for these students," he said. "Imagine that - getting some real-world experience."