Little Red Schoolhouse doubling in size | AspenTimes.com

Little Red Schoolhouse doubling in size

Charles Agar
Aspen,CO Colorado

SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Former students still come back to tour the iconic Snowmass Village schoolhouse where children have learned the three “Rs” since the late 1800s.

And officials at the historic Little Red Schoolhouse, a preschool since 1982, hope to double the size of the school while preserving the historic building.

The Snowmass Town Council recently agreed to craft a long-term lease on the property ” from 30 to 99 years ” and council members hope to create an educational zoning on the site, to keep it out of the hands of developers.

Children 1 to 5 years of age find supervision from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Parents of about 25 to 30 students pay more than $200,000 in annual tuition, and most of the money goes toward teacher salaries.

“We actually run a budget in deficit,” said Season Doebler, director of the school.

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The school raises money through its annual Mardis Gras celebration and sale of Mardi Gras beads, as well as from a yard sale, a wreath sale and from duck sales for the Rotary’s Ducky Derby.

In July, men don women’s clothing for the school’s “Hits and Misses” softball game and fundraiser. The event, with a benefit and silent auction the night before the game, earned the school some $3,866 in 2006, and grew to about $16,000 in 2007, Doebler said.

The Little Red Schoolhouse received more than $14,000 in Snowmass Village and Pitkin County grants.

Expenses are dominated by five salaried employees, and the rest goes to everything from food and office supplies to utilities, phones and state licensing fees, Doebler said.

But the real focus is education.

“Children learn from everything they do,” Doebler said.

And toddlers and preschoolers in two separate classrooms ” with two teachers in each ” have plenty of flexibility and free time to play, choosing task-oriented projects ranging from math and science to sensory or dramatic play, Doebler said.

But the desperate need for childcare valleywide and an aging facility limit Doebler and her staff.

“Our school is so old, we can’t do any of the upgrades to stay with state code,” Doebler said. “Right now we’re just starting our capital campaign.”

Money raised will go toward building a new 2,000-square-foot structure at a cost of about $2 million.

The new building could house much-needed facilities for infants and would bring all of the classrooms into one place, Doebler said.

Any remodel would preserve the original historic building, but would replace a 1980’s-era structure that doesn’t fit the needs of the school.

And with a waiting list of more than 30 families and only two infant centers in all of Pitkin County, Doebler said the need is acute.

“Telling a crying mother on the phone that I can’t take her child is the hardest part of my job,” Doebler said.

The school rates a three out of a possible score of four in a statewide Qualistar rating, Doebler said. And she hopes that by doubling capacity in a new building the school will make top billing.

Former students still come back to tour the iconic Snowmass Village schoolhouse where children have learned the three “Rs” since the late 1800s.

And officials at the historic Little Red Schoolhouse, a preschool since 1982, hope to double the size of the school while preserving the historic building.

The Snowmass Town Council recently agreed to craft a long-term lease on the property ” from 30 to 99 years ” and council members hope to create an educational zoning on the site, to keep it out of the hands of developers.

Children 1 to 5 years of age find supervision from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Parents of about 25 to 30 students pay more than $200,000 in annual tuition, and most of the money goes toward teacher salaries.

“We actually run a budget in deficit,” said Season Doebler, director of the school.

The school raises money through its annual Mardis Gras celebration and sale of Mardi Gras beads, as well as from a yard sale, a wreath sale and from duck sales for the Rotary’s Ducky Derby.

In July, men don women’s clothing for the school’s “Hits and Misses” softball game and fundraiser. The event, with a benefit and silent auction the night before the game, earned the school some $3,866 in 2006, and grew to about $16,000 in 2007, Doebler said.

The Little Red Schoolhouse received more than $14,000 in Snowmass Village and Pitkin County grants.

Expenses are dominated by five salaried employees, and the rest goes to everything from food and office supplies to utilities, phones and state licensing fees, Doebler said.

But the real focus is education.

“Children learn from everything they do,” Doebler said.

And toddlers and preschoolers in two separate classrooms ” with two teachers in each ” have plenty of flexibility and free time to play, choosing task-oriented projects ranging from math and science to sensory or dramatic play, Doebler said.

But the desperate need for childcare valleywide and an aging facility limit Doebler and her staff.

“Our school is so old, we can’t do any of the upgrades to stay with state code,” Doebler said. “Right now we’re just starting our capital campaign.”

Money raised will go toward building a new 2,000-square-foot structure at a cost of about $2 million.

The new building could house much-needed facilities for infants and would bring all of the classrooms into one place, Doebler said.

Any remodel would preserve the original historic building, but would replace a 1980’s-era structure that doesn’t fit the needs of the school.

And with a waiting list of more than 30 families and only two infant centers in all of Pitkin County, Doebler said the need is acute.

“Telling a crying mother on the phone that I can’t take her child is the hardest part of my job,” Doebler said.

The school rates a three out of a possible score of four in a statewide Qualistar rating, Doebler said. And she hopes that by doubling capacity in a new building the school will make top billing.

Charles Agar’s e-mail addres is cagar@aspentimes.com.

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