The Clear Creek School Board faces a conundrum now that a group has asked the board to commit to leasing space for a year-round infant and toddler daycare in the building that will be the new home of Carlson Elementary School.
Representatives from the Early Care team have requested a commitment soon as grants may be available in 2022 to help establish the daycare. The team is applying for a low-cost lease for approximately 4,600 square feet of space to house 62 children from early childhood to preschool with shared access to the playground and located so there is a pickup and drop-off location for parents.
They said the other options were too expensive, too small, or with rental options too short.
While board members agreed that Clear Creek County was a child care desert and that child care was a priority, they were reluctant to commit until they had a better idea of where to go. what the new Carlson Elementary School will look like when it enters the old school environment known as Building 103.
“The challenge we face with this issue is that it is at the beginning of the process,” said Superintendent Karen Quanbeck. “It’s weird because it’s backwards.”
Board members wanted to know what kind of commitment the early care team needed to get grants, saying they thought a daycare was a good use of space, but said they thought a daycare was a good use of space. didn’t know if it was feasible.
The board of directors plans to meet in an executive session soon to discuss the idea further.
The Early Care Team is made up of representatives from Clear Creek County, Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District, Red Rocks Community College Child Care Innovations, and the School District.
Becky Dancer, CCSD’s director of teaching and learning who is part of the team, said the goal was to open an infant and toddler program as early as fall 2023.
The early care team and school board members understand that child care options are necessary to keep employees in the district, Idaho Springs, and the county.
“If we build it, people will be interested in coming,” Dancer said.
“The core programming (in building 103) needs to be around the elementary school,” Quanbeck added. “We have yet to determine where these rooms will be with an architect. We have ideas, but we really need architects to help us before we know what kind of room is available for a daycare. Conceptually, it’s pretty easy to say that we like the idea a lot, but when we get down to business what does that mean? “
Board members said that although the community communicated loudly the need for daycare, they did not want to make a decision about a daycare until they had more feedback from the community, what they promised when the district went with the bond. to pay for the new Carlson Elementary School.
“I don’t feel like we are genuine to the community if we are already cutting out part (of the building) for use,” said Erica Haag, board member. “I feel like we’re saying we want to do public engagement, but in this article, we are ahead of public engagement.”
Quanbeck has vowed to consult with district experts before the school board continues its discussions.
“There is a way to find a solution, but we are not there yet,” she said.