Board to hear proposals
Alternative school outgrowing its space, may need to move
The Routt County Alternative School is starting to outgrow its two-room, downtown location.
Director Don Williams will present a plan to rent an old parachute factory building in Oak Creek to use as the alternative school during the day and as a recreation center at night to the Oak Creek Town Board tonight.
Williams is asking the town and the South Routt School District to split the $750 monthly rent, as well as utilities, insurance and other costs that come with the building.
“I think it would be a huge benefit to the community because students don’t have things to do at night,” Williams said. “I want to give them an opportunity to come to a place where they can get good at some things.”
The school began in January and has nine students and three others on a waiting list.
“We’re partly limited by space,” Williams said, referring to taking additional students.
“Students are saying this (number) is OK, but more than this is going to be too crowded.”
The school, which is public, is funded by a five-year grant from the Colorado Department of Education. The grant pays about $40,000 a year, making the school free to its students.
At the school, students choose their own curriculum and are guided through it by Williams. Students have to meet state standards for their age and also have to put in 66 hours of study and present five portfolio pieces for each class.
Students can pursue topics such as metalworking and Web page design along with more traditional studies.
The freedom allowed by the school is based on the idea that students naturally learn things that interest them and are relevant to their lives, Williams said. The set-up encourages students to be self-motivated and has been successful, he said.
“We’ve had kids who haven’t been successful in high school are doing very well here,” he said. The school also has students who were successful in high school but wanted to try something different and who are also succeeding under their new programs.
The Town Board will hear the proposal tonight but may not decide on it until a later date. Williams said he sees the idea as benefiting the school, which would get the space it needs, and the town, which would get a recreation facility for children and teenagers to use.
In other business:
n The Oak Creek Town Board will hear public comment on environmental impacts of the new water treatment plant and will hear comments from Town Trustee Mike Kien about the proposed establishment of an industrial performance district.
The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. tonight at Town Hall in downtown Oak Creek.
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Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig…