Silverthorne moves forward with Summit County on planned child care center

Smith Ranch in Silverthorne is pictured May 14. Plans for a child care center along Adams Avenue, near the neighborhood and other residential areas, are underway.
Photo by Liz Copan / Summit Daily archives

Details on the new child care facility in Silverthorne were hammered out at the Silverthorne Town Council work session on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The town will enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Summit County to build a $4 million child care structure with 50-50 ownership.

Council member Kevin McDonald laid out various stages of government involvement in the project, which could start with a small group of town and county leaders and end with an executive director and board of directors for the nonprofit center.

On the construction-management side of the process, Silverthorne Town Manager Ryan Hyland said Silverthorne Public Works Director Tom Daugherty would lead the project and that a small group would be formed to aid in the process, including McDonald, Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine, Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence and Early Childhood Options board members.

Hyland said the basic structure of the original agreement with the county says Silverthorne would commit to providing land for the facility and an ongoing subsidy of at least $100,000 per year to sustain the operation. Summit County committed $3 million to building the $4 million facility, with the remaining $1 million expected to be collected through fundraising efforts.

The intergovernmental agreement proposes a joint ownership of the facility between the town and the county, Hyland said. The eventual operator of the facility would be responsible for general maintenance, but the town and county would fund larger replacements, such as new roofing that eventually will be necessary.

McDonald said the business of building child care facilities is a somewhat specialized area and that the town and county should look for a developer with a lot of experience with similar projects. He noted that if the developer isn’t able to offer this expertise, a consultant could be hired, as well.

It originally was proposed that an executive director be hired before the facility is built to help with the design and then work on fundraising until the center opens, but McDonald laid out a different plan.

“My vision is that we would have a work group,” McDonald said. “It’s a year, year and a half construction process. As we get nearer to the end of that … we will have identified the handoff plan.”

McDonald said the group then would organize a board for a nonprofit to be formed that would operate the center. Then, over the course of a year, the working group would go away and the board would take over. He said it would be important for the board to hire the executive director because the board would end up as the executive director’s boss. McDonald also noted that it might be easier for the director to garner fundraising support for a nonprofit rather than a joint town and county project.

Council member Derrick Fowler asked whether there would be a benefit to the town owning a slightly larger percentage of the facility than the county. While it would be beneficial for the town, McDonald said, the county might not agree because it is funding the construction. Staff agreed that the question would be posed in future meetings with the county.

Council member Amy Manka asked whether facility uses would be confined to day care or if after-school care would be available. Hyland said that hasn’t yet been determined.

Daugherty said construction could start as early as next spring and that building would take 12-18 months with a potential completion date in 2023.

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