Fly Gulch School restoration effort moves forward

Teresa Ristow
The Steamboat Springs School District is one step closer to the restoration of the historic Fly Gulch School on the Strawberry Park Elementary campus. Renovations on the buildings could begin this summer.

— The Steamboat Springs School District has nearly secured about $11,200 in matching funds needed to receive a state grant to restore the historic Fly Gulch School.

The district had until the end of January to obtain the money in order to receive a $33,500 State Historical Fund Development Grant for the beginning stages of the building’s restoration.

Located on the Strawberry Park Elementary campus, the historic building, which once was used as a teaching tool for students, has been in disrepair for the last several years due to moisture and foundation issues.

According to Routt County Schools grant writer Karla Setter, matching funds have come from a variety of groups, which she says is evidence of support for the building’s restoration.

“It really shows good local support,” Setter said.

The district was able to raise the bulk of the match through grants and donations, and Setter is hopeful the rest will be forthcoming.

Strawberry Park Elementary is fronting the last $2,500 of the match in order to meet the State Historical Fund’s and sign a grant contract, but Setter said there is a pending grant and an upcoming student fundraiser she hopes will lessen the amount the school will actually have to pay.

“In order to sign the contract, we have to have the matching funds available, so [Strawberry Park] is fronting the money,” she said.

The rest of the match was collected through grants from the Routt County Museum and Heritage Fund Advisory Board, Lowe’s Toolbox and the Legacy Education Foundation.

“It was exciting to get the MAHFAB support for the project,” Setter said.

Originally built in 1917 about 10 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs, the Fly Gulch School and Teacherage buildings were moved to Strawberry Park Elementary in 1992 for use as a learning center.

Teachers Anna White and Lisa Adams last year envisioned repainting and sprucing up the decades-old building, but the project soon evolved into a district-wide pursuit for grant funding and a much larger restoration.

The Challenge Fund, the fundraising arm of Parent Information Committees at Strawberry Park Elementary and Soda Creek Elementary, has provided additional support for the project, including funding for historical storytelling research and a timeline that will be used in the schoolhouse once its operational.

As part of the State Historical Fund Development Grant process, the district had to apply for historical designation for Fly Gulch from the Routt County Preservation Board, which they were awarded Oct. 16.

Setter said she will bring the state grant contract to the School Board for approval at an upcoming meeting.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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