Final site plan approved for Silverthorne child care facility
Silverthorne Town Council approved the final site plan for the Silverthorne Early Childhood Center facility, which will add 65 to 70 child care spots for children across the county.
Land for the facility was bought in Oct. 2020, along with space for a potential grocery store, and it sits at the corner of Adams Avenue and Ruby Ranch Road. Since then, the town has partnered with Summit County government to move the project forward, including sharing the cost of building the facility. The site is 1.72 acres and will have a single-story building that is about 8,800 square feet in size. Current plans include six day care rooms, a small administrative area, a kitchen and a multipurpose room. There are also three separate play areas for the three age groups being supervised within the building. The facility will have approximately 20 staff at the building during a maximum shift.
The building will have 23 parking spots, and roughly half will be used for staff. Council member Tim Applegate said he was concerned about having enough space for drop-off since a long car line might back up onto the highway, but architect Matt Rodgers said that because it is a child care facility where some parents would have to enter the school with an infant or toddler, traffic backup likely would not happen.
“It’s not really like what you might see dropping off middle school students where the kid gets out,” Rodgers said. “(Parents of child care students) do park there for three to five minutes while they check in that student, and then they leave. Throughout design, we’ve been working very closely with other head-start facilities in the areas such as Timberline (Learning Center), and they have very similar traffic flow for drop-off situations.”
Town manager Ryan Hyland added that town staff can encourage the facility’s operator to consider a staggered approach to drop-off so that not all children get dropped off at the same time. The building is owned by the Silverthorne Childcare Authority, and town leadership has already begun the process of finding an operator that will manage the child care facility.
There is open space for two more classrooms to the west of the building, if the town and county choose to expand. Council member Mike Spry said including those two classrooms in the build could allow for more children to be added since child care is an issue impacting the whole county, but Summit County manager Scott Vargo said that they will save that space for an addition later because of building costs.
“We did have conversations about doing an expansion,” Vargo said. “It really is a timing issue, first and foremost, and certainly also a cost issue. Secondly, the cost of this facility is more than double what we had originally intended it to be. But we did try to at least create the opportunity for those classrooms down the road.”
In tandem with rising costs of construction and supplies plaguing projects across the country, the estimated cost of constructing the Smith Ranch child care building in Silverthorne has also risen. Original estimates back in July 2021 had the complete cost of the facility at $4 million. At the time, Summit County and the town of Silverthorne would share the cost, contributing $3 million and $1 million, respectively. In January, that estimate rose to closer to approximately $8.5 million. Now, the current price tag for the Smith Ranch facility is $9.7 million.
The updated contribution to the child care center from Silverthorne would be $2.35 million. Of that, $1.2 million would be the land value (which is already provided), $150,000 for the site development (which has been completed) and another $1 million that would be split evenly between the capital improvement fund and either nicotine sales or 5A housing funds. The rest of the money to construct the facility will be a combination of $3 million from the Strong Futures Fund, $3.41 million from Summit County and $1 million in grant efforts from both the town of Silverthorne and the county.
Town Council passed the final site plan unanimously. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for the site at 4 p.m. June 21.
“This has been a longtime desire for this area of the county,” Council member Kelly Owens said. “It’s really nice to see it happening, and happening soon. It’s much needed.”
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