City after-school program set to move to Soda Creek |

City after-school program set to move to Soda Creek

Zach Fridell

— Theo Hansen is ready for a little more running room.

Theo, 8, was one of 42 children in kindergarten through fifth grade who sat around the edge of the city building dubbed the Igloo on Wednesday afternoon, in preparation for a day of after-school activities through Steamboat Springs’ Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department. Packed shoulder-to-shoulder, the group had obviously outgrown its space in the facility near Howelsen Hill.

Luckily for Theo and others, the after-school program is set to move into new, spacious facilities in Soda Creek Elementary School at the beginning of December.

“I’m kind of excited that we can actually have more room to play,” Theo said. “We can run around more, so we can have more fun and do more activities.”

The move to a new activity center is part of a $250,000 deal between the city and the Steamboat Springs School District to engineer the creation of a dedicated after-school programming room in the new Soda Creek Elementary School.

The 800-square-foot room has less floor space than the total of the Igloo’s small rooms, but the ability to use the school’s cafeteria, gym and playground will increase the scope of activities available, Recreation Specialist Alexis Wolf said.

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“The total square footage will get dramatically bigger,” she said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of new games because we’ve never had a gym before.”

The current after-school program has a small blacktop area near the Igloo, along with a playground in the Brooklyn neighborhood. But Wolf said the availability of the more “age appropriate” Soda Creek playground will boost the program’s options.

The after-school program costs $10 per day, or $30 for all-day programs when school is not in session.

Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said she was happy to see the program in place to create a place for students to go after school.

“We are eliminating the latch-key kid issue of kids who go home to empty houses because their parents are working,” she said.

The all-day sessions have a wait list of 10 to 30 students more than the 50 the program can accommodate. The new space available at Soda Creek may eventually create new openings for students, but not immediately, said Susan Petersen, recreation supervisor in charge of the program.

“We certainly can (hold more students). We’re not looking to do that yet. Our goal is to get settled in and operate programs as we have been, then take a look at the need and determine if we have people on a waiting list, and then take baby steps toward increasing our capacity,” she said.

The cost for the programs will remain fixed through at least this year, she said.

The department also will offer new enrichment clubs beginning in January.

They include bowling at $25 for five sessions, pottery at $50 for six sessions, beginner karate at $15 for six sessions, and an ice skating and initiation to hockey class at $56 for eight sessions. Costs of enrichment activities, intended to provide additional options for students, are in addition to the basic after-school fee.