New space at North Routt Charter School hopes to welcome community back in
Addition is part of slew of projects Steamboat voters approved in 2019
North Routt Community Charter School has embraced the elements in its curriculum. In the winter, students are cross-country skiing pretty much every day.
Outdoor education has been a cornerstone of learning at the school in Clark, and in a way, it had to be because the building never had an indoor gym. When students return at the end of the month, they will start the first year at the school where that is no longer the case.
“It’s the first time kids have literally been able to have (physical education class) inside,” said Principal and Head of School Jaime Passchier. “It’s giving us more opportunities. Kids want to be like, ‘Can we play basketball?’ Yeah, now you can.”
The new space, which includes a small fitness room and an art room in addition to the gym, was part of a long list of projects that voters narrowly approved in 2019.
In addition to building Sleeping Giant School west of Steamboat, the nearly $80 million bond measure allocated about $27 million for repairs across the Steamboat Springs School District, including these additions in North Routt.
The new space was completed this spring and will be available for use by the broader community, just as multiple people use community space that is already part of the school.
A new soccer field named in honor of former teacher Sancy Shaw, who was killed in a crash on Interstate 70 in 2018, will break ground in the spring.
“We want to bring our community back in,” Passchier said. “I think with COVID, definitely people got away from the school. And with the changes last year, we want everybody to come back.”
The school has about 100 students enrolled ahead of the first day of school on Aug. 29, and Passchier said there is still space. Ideally, they would have about 110 students.
The new art room is a similar size as the rest of the school’s classrooms and is full of new equipment to allow students to get their hands dirty — quite literally in the case of the new pottery wheels.
Passchier said the school has one dedicated art teacher, and she is building a curriculum that goes beyond typical art classes.
“She’s framing it as not just art, but the arts,” Passchier said. “She is going to try and bring in dance, or she can bring in strings or things like that.”
In addition to a new 3D printer and kiln, the classroom has two large garage doors creating more space for students to spread out if the weather is nice. Passchier said this space will eventually be available to the community to rent out.
In a room just off the new gym is what Passchier referred to as the Ski Chalet. It includes shelves for students’ ski boots and benches where they can put them.
“They literally can ski right out,” Passchier said.
The gym itself is the size of half a basketball court and has three hoops. The floor can be covered for events, and there is a large screen and projector hanging from the ceiling that Passchier said could be used for a community movie night.
The gym also has some space for staff, including one office for the school social worker, putting them closer to classrooms and away from the rest of the school’s administrative offices.
Now that they have some space, Passchier said she wants to look into seeing what interest students would have in joining a North Routt only sports team.
“I don’t know how yet,” Passchier said. “But we could probably have a cross-country team; we have the space for that. … We have a lot of girls who go down for volleyball. Maybe we’d have enough to start volleyball up here.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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