Charter school wins $500K in expansion funds |

Charter school wins $500K in expansion funds

Grant will help build new North Routt facility

Zach Fridell
Resource teacher Michele Friedmann works with sixth-grader Cody Dietz last month at the North Routt Community Charter School in Clark. On Wednesday, Gov. Bill Ritter announced allocations of $21.5 million in energy impact grants across the state, including $500,000 for the charter school's new building.
Courtesy Photo

— North Routt Community Charter School Director Colleen Poole received an early Christmas gift this year.

On Wednesday, the Department of Local Affairs announced the charter school will receive a $500,000 energy impact grant from the state.

“That’s excellent, excellent news,” Poole said when she was informed of the announcement. “It made my Christmas.”

The grant is part of $21.5 million in funding given to 35 communities for construction, infrastructure and other projects that will create jobs and strengthen local economies, according to a news release from the office of Gov. Bill Ritter.

Poole said the money will be used in the construction of a new building for the school. The building will double as a community center when school is not in session.

“We’ve outgrown this campus, and we’re looking at building a new charter school,” she said. “The community will be able to use it for classes, meetings and all that.”

The school’s directors have discussed the plans in the past, but the money was not available.

“I think it will certainly spark the process a little bit in helping getting us going on it,” she said.

A preliminary budget for the new building shows a cost of about $2.5 million, but Poole said the school still is looking for ways to reduce the cost. The project will begin as soon as possible, she said.

News of the grant was a surprise to Poole, who had not heard anything about it since she and two community members prepared the application.

The 35 grants, announced by Ritter and DOLA Executive Director Susan Kirkpatrick, are intended to relieve the impacts of a slumping economy. Revenues from severance taxes and federal mineral leases fund energy impact grant allocations.

“Communities all across Colorado are struggling to cope with this global economic crisis,” Ritter said. “These grants will allow communities to make key investments in projects that will put people to work and strengthen local economies in the short-term, while making communities more livable and economically healthy in the long-term.”

DOLA received 44 applications for $54 million in grant funding, which a department spokesperson called an “unprecedented” amount.

The charter school was the only Routt County organization to receive funds. Other grants include $1 million for the Colorado Northwest Community College Career and Technical Building, $200,000 for Craig equipment and vehicle replacement and $100,000 for a Moffat County school gymnasium and auditorium.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208

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