Historic Selbe House donated to Steamboat Mountain School
The school will relocate the cabin to its Strawberry Park campus where it will serve as housing for faculty and their family.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The historic Selbe House has been tucked away on Oak Street for more than 80 years. By the end of May, the house will have a new home.
Steamboat Mountain School’s proposal to move the building to its Strawberry Park campus and repurpose it as faculty housing was approved by the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday after a committee of county staff said it was the best of the four proposals submitted.
“We are really excited; we believe this is such a great fit for the community overall, as well as our community,” said Samantha Coyne Donnel, who currently serves as head of school for Emerald Mountain School, which merged with Steamboat Mountain School earlier this year. “We can preserve this historic structure while also providing a good for our teachers and overall for education in Routt County.”
The house, built by famed local architect Art Gumprecht in 1937 or 1938, needs to be moved to make way for the new Routt County Health and Human Services Building, which will break ground later this year. Commissioners said they did not want to demolish the building but would rather have it moved and even offered to help with some of those costs.
Commissioner Tim Corrigan described the move as a win for the school, for historic preservation and for the commissioners themselves.
“It is really a win for the county commissioners, so we don’t have to face the wrath of the public if we had been forced to tear this building down,” Corrigan said.
The building itself is being donated to the school, and the county is paying $25,000 to help relocate the building. In the proposal, Steamboat Mountain School estimated costs associated with moving the building would be around $30,000.
The county had budgeted $50,000 to clean up the site as part of the construction costs for the new building, half of which will now go to the school to help with relocation.
The school’s proposal said relocating the house to a new foundation and making it habitable will cost the school about $120,000.
Once moved to the school’s Strawberry Park campus, the house will serve as faculty housing, particularly for teachers who have family. In their proposal, school leaders said the house will help them retain and attract new teachers by removing the barrier of being able to afford to live in Steamboat Springs.
The house will be placed in a visible location on campus with an interpretive sign explaining the building’s historic significance.
An evaluation committee of eight county staff, including department heads and commissioners, devised a scoring system to assess the use of the building, timeline for relocation, viability of the proposal, county funding request and the community support for each proposal. Steamboat Mountain School’s proposal received the most points.
“We’re proud to see it go to Steamboat Mountain School, and we would have been proud to host it as well,” said Calder Young with Warhorse Ranch, which had proposed to use the house to supplement its equine therapy work targeted at veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder. “We think it is great to be able to help preserve the history that is here in our valley.”
In another proposal, Molly and Ed Baker, owners of Déjà Vu Boutique and Threads Recyclotherie, proposed to move the building to their property to use as a bed and breakfast. The fourth proposal, from Joella West and Larry Klingman, would have used the house for visiting artists from Strings Music Festival, the Steamboat Art Museum and Steamboat Symphony.
The house needs to be moved by May 31, and county purchasing agent Julie Kennedy said the move would likely take place over Memorial Day weekend. To accommodate the county’s timeline, the house will first be moved onto blocks in a parking lot on the school’s campus while the new foundation and other preparations for the building are completed.
“This is a great opportunity, I think, to preserve this cabin, and I really appreciated everyone who put in proposals,” Commissioner Beth Melton said. “It’s really exciting to see this go to a location where it will be utilized for some housing.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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