Basalt may gain own home for nonprofits |

Basalt may gain own home for nonprofits

A community organization hopes to turn the old red brick school in Basalt into a center for nonprofits. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

A citizens committee is moving ahead with a plan to preserve a historic school building in Basalt and convert it into a home for some vital community organizations.

The committee, which hopes to secure nonprofit and tax-exempt status, plans to lease what’s known as the red brick school building on the Basalt Elementary School campus and sublease spaces to groups oriented around arts, recreation and family resources, according to a business plan presented to the Roaring Fork School District. The focus would be on programs and services for kids.

“It will be a safe environment where our children can spend their off-school time in supervised activities that engage them creatively, physically, intellectually and emotionally,” said a letter from the committee to the school board. “It can be a vortex, a center of our community, the village meeting place.”

Some possible uses are a preschool or daycare center; computer lab; space for meetings, classes, seminars and lectures; an arts theater space; and a gym for “soft sports” like gymnastics, yoga, dance and karate.

Potential tenants could include Camp-Chip-a-Tooth, an after-school facility; and several family resources like Youth Zone, Family Resource Center, Aspen Counseling Center and The Buddy Program.

The school district doesn’t need the old red brick building, built in 1938, because of the construction of the new Basalt Elementary School. The school board agreed earlier in the year to defer demolition of the building to give the community time to come up with a plan to acquire or lease it on terms acceptable to the district.

The community group, formally known as the Old Brick committee, is assessing how much it will cost to retrofit the building for its tenants. The building is nearly 12,000 square feet and consists of nine interior spaces and a library. That library used to be a gym, and the preliminary plan calls for converting it back.

The terms of leases will depend on how much is required in improvements and maintenance.

“The more money we need to invest in the building, the longer the lease would need to be to make that a reasonable investment,” the committee wrote to the school board. The intent is to create a financially solvent organization through rents, fund raising and grants.

Terms of the school district’s lease to the committee must also be worked out. The school board recently approved the concept presented by the Old Brick committee and expressed an interest in working further with the group, according to district spokeswoman Suzie Romig.

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