Steamboat’s Laurel Street Preschool works toward reopening |

Steamboat’s Laurel Street Preschool works toward reopening

Michael Schrantz

Since Laurel Street Preschool's abrupt closure at the end of May

— Laurel Street Preschool is taking its first steps toward reopening the longtime Steamboat institution.

When the preschool closed abruptly at the end of May, it was facing a Colorado Department of Human Service's Division of Child Care report that detailed numerous issues with the school's operation.

Children were displaced. The board stepped down.

Now, a new board of directors has formed to steer Laurel Street through refinancing options, building renovations and finding a new executive director, according to a news release.

The school will be holding a fundraiser at 11 a.m. July 7 at Ace at the Curve in Steamboat Springs. The event will be a hot dog social, and contributions to the school will be accepted, including items needed for its renovation. A list of needs will be available on the school's website and at ACE.

"We have some physical challenges in building we're trying to overcome," said Todd Hagenbuch, president of the school's board. Some of the contributions will go to help with restaffing efforts, he said.

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A news release states that the board has met with a state licensing specialists, child care experts and a private school consultant.

"The board believes that none of the issues raised in the Report of Inspection are insurmountable," the release states.

Part of the help the board has sought out is in the form of local expertise.

Nancy Spillane — who founded and led Emerald Mountain School in Steamboat and, most recently, was the interim director of Paddington Station Preschool in Denver — will be helping Laurel Street Preschool revamp its bylaws.

"For me and what I do, I've always found good governance is a major part of school success," Spillane said.

"A friend of the school gave me a ring and asked me if I would meet with the new board and just allow them to sit and talk with me and bounce things off of me," Spillane said about becoming involved with Laurel Street.

"I asked them if I could see their bylaws and take a look at them and maybe beef them up a little bit," she said. "That initial structure is imperative in school success."

Spillane said her youngest son, Sam, attended Laurel Street Preschool.

"Our family has a vested interest in seeing the school continues to be successful," she said. "It's a great little school."

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email

How to help

Information will be updated at Laurel Street Preschool’s website or those interested can email

New board of directors

• Todd Hagenbuch, president of the board, is a longtime rancher and currently serves as Routt County’s CSU Agricultural Extension agent.

• Samantha Salazar, vice president of the board, grew up in Steamboat and currently raises her two children while finishing her four-year college degree and working two jobs.

• Nathan Walker, treasurer of the board, is a “rocket scientist” that works for one of Steamboat’s high-tech firms.

• Katherine George, secretary of the board, is an international consultant to the United Nations in East Africa and owns a local eco dry cleaner with her husband.

• Liana Del Hierro is a mother of three and runs her own hairstyling and beauty salon.

• Mike Killingsworth is bouncer for Old Town Pub and served as a parent volunteer for Laurel Street.