Little Red Schoolhouse going big
November 19, 2007
SNOWMASS VILLAGE The historic Little Red Schoolhouse in Snowmass Village is going big.Preschool officials plan to preserve the schoolhouse but raze an adjacent 1980s-era building to make way for a new, 2,000-square-foot structure. The cost would be $2 million. On Monday, school officials cleared the first hurdle in the proposed remodel when the Snowmass Village Town Council agreed to draft a long-term lease on the public land and historic structure.The nonprofit Little Red Schoolhouse has provided care to children up to five years old since 1978, but the school has outgrown its walls, school officials said.”This is a huge dilemma that we’re facing in Snowmass Village,” said Season Doebler, director of the preschool. “We’re kind of in crisis mode at this point.”There is a 30-family waiting list for some 36 slots at the Little Red Schoolhouse, Doebler said, adding she wants to double the preschool’s capacity.The council’s support effectively opens the door for school officials to raise money and seek approval for the rebuild, Doebler said.School officials hope to knock down the school’s 1980s-era Hildur Anderson Toddler Center to make room for a new facility that would include an infant room, a vital need in the valley, Doebler said.She said a lack of childcare facilities is a problem countywide, and childcare centers post 95 percent occupancy and often have long wait lists.”I think this is an amenity that people in the town of Snowmass deserve,” Doebler said.”We’re going to go as big as we can because you can only build new once.”Council members expressed support for the project, and suggested some affordable housing along with the development as well as a possible “educational zoning overlay” to ensure that the land is used for educational purposes. “Education shouldn’t stop in 30 years,” said Councilman Reed Lewis, adding that he would support a lease as long as 99 years. “Overall I think it’s a fantastic plan.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.