Montessori school to rent classrooms from Heritage Christian School | SteamboatToday.com

Montessori school to rent classrooms from Heritage Christian School

Teresa Ristow

— The governing board of an envisioned Montessori school has signed a three-year agreement with Heritage Christian School to rent out part of the campus beginning next summer.

Mountain Village Montessori Charter School governing board chair Kristen Rockford told supporters last week that the group is leasing 7,020-square-foot comprising five classrooms, office space, a teacher's lounge and shared access to the school's cafetorium. The group will use a separate entrance on the eastern border of the school building and have space for their own playground.

"It's practically turnkey," said Rockford, who was part of the school group's original steering committee, along with Jennifer Zuccone and Jennifer Brossett.

The school is aiming to serve 126 preschool through sixth-grade students in multi-age classrooms during its first year and later expand to serve students through eighth grade. The group has collected interest forms from local families representing 139 students.

Christian Heritage Foundation President Ty Lockhart said that the agreement is beneficial for HCS, which was purposely overbuilt and has more room than is needed for the current student body, which is 45 students.

"I think it's a win-win," Lockhart said. "We're really just making the building more efficient."

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Lockhart said the agreement does not preclude a potential sale of the building to the Steamboat Springs School District if the district became interested in using the space.

Heritage Christian School offered to sell the building to the district earlier this year to help address overcrowding in the district, but district officials have pursued the construction of a new school and reconfiguration of existing buildings instead.

"The Governing Board is thrilled to have a location and be able to use that school to its full extent," Rockford said.

Rockford said that long term, the school will look for three to five acres of land south of Steamboat to build the its permanent location, citing a large number of South Routt families interested in sending their children to the school.

Now that an initial location for the Montessori school has been identified, Rockford said the school's governing board would focus on hiring a head of school and kicking off a substantial fundraising campaign to cover start-up costs.

The group hopes to raise $100,000 to pay for classroom materials, playground equipment, hiring the head of school and other start-up costs, with an initial goal of raising $50,000 by April 1, 2016.

The group is hopeful some of that money will come from a Colorado Charter School Program grant it applied for this fall.

Rockford also said the group is applying for fiscal sponsorship from nonprofit Colorado League of Charter Schools, to ensure that donations made to the Montessori school are deductible.

The group will also use the League as a sponsor for Dec. 8 Colorado Gives Day, and all money donated to their capital campaign via the League will be given directly to the charter school.

For more information about the school or to receive updates, email info@mvmcs.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow