Brick by brick, the new community center in the old Colorado Mountain College building in Breckenridge is taking shape, as supporters pull out all the stops to continue raising money for the renovation.
The Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center and South Branch Library renovation project is the largest redevelopment project Summit County has undertaken. The historic red brick building on Harris Street originally opened as a schoolhouse in 1909.
The Summit County Library Foundation and the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance have worked during the past 16 months to raise 90 percent of a $2 million fundraising goal for the project. Summit County government has committed $2.68 million, and the town of Breckenridge is funding the remaining balance of the approximately $8.8 million total restoration cost. The renovation was originally projected to cost $7.4 million.
The capital campaign committee has worked with private individuals, community businesses, corporations and charitable foundations to meet its $2 million target. Leah Arnold, committee coordinator, said currently they have raised about $1.8 million.
“We’ve had participation from individuals, local businesses, major foundations — it’s a true reflection of the community here,” she said.
Capital campaign co-chairman Brian Edney, chairman of library foundation, said more than 300 local individuals and businesses have supported the project so far.
Approximately 8,000 square feet of space will be dedicated to the new South Branch Library. The 160-seat Speakeasy movie theater will be relocated to the building, and there will be a community room, coffee shop and nonprofit offices. Built in 1996, the current library now serves more than 80,000 users each year. The new library will feature designated children’s and young adult areas, expanded adult stacks and reading areas, state-of-the-art technology, improved work space for staff and a modern circulation desk.
Major grant donors include: Breckenridge Grand Vacations, which donated $500,000 for naming rights, Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Foundation, The Summit Foundation, First Bank, the Gates Family Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation.
“Hopefully our gift will inspire others to give to either the community center or to the cause of their choice,” Mike Dudick, vice president of Breckenridge Grand Vacations, said in a prepared statement.
Arnold said the support from Breckenridge Grand Vacations was one of the main reasons the capital campaign has been so successful.
At the Jan. 14 town council meeting, all seven council members supported a resolution to apply for a $50,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation to help the capital campaign reach its goal. The campaign committee prepared the grant application on behalf of the town. The El Pomar Board of Trustees meets regularly throughout the year to review grant requests; the next scheduled meeting is March 28.
Arnold said she has toured the building every few weeks and is excited about the changes. She said the demolition is basically completed, and the crew is on schedule and is about to move into the rebuilding phase.
The library foundation and Heritage Alliance committee members have generated more than 2,000 volunteer hours on the project. The capital campaign started the project with a generous matching challenge grant of $50,000 from Paul and Eileen Finkels’ F Cubed Foundation.
Arnold said the committee hopes to reach $2 million by early summer, though they have a final deadline of January 2015.
“Even after we complete the building, if someone stops by and thinks, ‘Wow, this is a cool space,’ they can still donate, there is still an opportunity for that,” she said.
For a minimum of $100, donors can join the Founders’ Circle and will receive a commemorative book bag, a limited edition South Branch Library card, a Speakeasy concessions stand punch pass, two Heritage Alliance two-for-one tour passes, a VIP invitation to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and a certificate signed by the mayor and county commissioners. Edney said these members have so far raised more than $35,000 and the outdoor reading patio will be named in their honor.
Dudick said the taxpayers of Breckenridge are saving almost $5 million through the coordinated efforts of the town, Summit County government and the library foundation.
Donations of any size are still greatly appreciated, Arnold said. Naming rights are available from $250 for a seat in the new movie theater — 80 of which have been sold — to $15,000 for a study room in the library. Gifts of $1,000 or more will be acknowledged on site on a donors’ wall, and all donations no matter the size will be recorded in a donors’ book in the library. Visit www.bgvcenter.org for more information or to donate.
“We’ve had participation from individuals, local businesses, major foundations — it’s a true reflection of the community here.”
Capital campaign committee coordinator