Steamboat Mountain School holds grand reopening
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Mountain School celebrated its new name Friday during an event that included visiting parents, alumni and members of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
School officials announced in May their plans to change the school’s name from The Lowell Whiteman School to Steamboat Mountain School, citing a variety of reasons including marketability for admissions.
The private school with optional boarding 5 miles north of Steamboat Springs has students from across the United States and the world but has seen a drop in enrollment in recent years, with just 16 graduates last year.
The new name already has garnered results during admissions fairs, when prospective families have been quick to recognize the Steamboat name, Head of School Meg Morse said.
Morse said rather than spending time explaining that the school is in Steamboat Springs and what the area has to offer to new families, staff instead can talk about the school’s history and spend more time discussing founder Lowell Whiteman and his vision.
“Now we really get to honor him,” Morse said after a ribbon cutting for the newly named campus.
The school has two upcoming projects aimed at honoring school founder and outdoor enthusiast Lowell Whiteman, as well, Morse said.
A new Lowell Whiteman award will be given this spring to a current student that best embraces Whiteman’s vision, and a separate scholarship will be given in Lowell Whiteman’s name.
Morse said alumni have been supportive of the name change, even if they were initially hesitant about it.
“Even at first if they’re a little sensitive about it, once we get a chance to talk about it they’re incredibly supportive of the name change,” Morse said.
Parent Sally Dyer said she understands the reasons why the school decided to change its name.
“I think a new name brings new energy,” said Dyer, who had two children graduate from the school previously and has a freshman son attending this year.
“I think it will be easier for people to find the school,” Dyer said.
This year, the school has 40 students, Morse said, but they’re hopeful that admissions will go up next year.
“We’re actually seeing great movement in admissions,” Morse said.
Student Perri Meeks came to the school from a small town in Wyoming, admittedly for the skiing program, but is very academically focused and plans to participate in the school’s travel program this year, Morse said.
Meeks, a senior, said she was supportive of the new name.
“I think the new name portrays the school better,” she said.
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