Playhouse gets new home |

Playhouse gets new home

Reid Williams
Summit Daily/Reid WilliamsApex Mountain Homes part-owner Clark Johnson helps guide a playhouse built by the company into its new home at Dillon Valley Elementary Saturday. Frisco resident Paula Hupka donated it to the Head Start program.

DILLON VALLEY – The measure of a child’s appreciation for a gift or a new toy can be gauged within seconds of his or her eyes fixing on it. So it’s a safe bet, hearing two fifth-grade boys “ooh’ and “ahh’ at the new playhouse gracing the Dillon Valley Elementary School playground, that most of the students will enjoy their new, miniature log cabin come recess on Monday.

Frisco resident Paula Hupka won the playhouse in a raffle this summer. Apex Mountain Homes built three of the playhouses, which were raffled off in a benefit for The Summit Foundation in association with the county’s Parade of Homes event. Hupka had no need for the playhouse herself, and on the suggestion of a member of the county’s Early Childhood Options board, donated it to the Head Start program.

Head Start is a federal program aimed at helping low-income children learn the skills necessary to succeed in school. The preschool program started last winter in Summit’s schools and is in its first full year of operation. Head Start funds pay tuition for preschool students at Upper Blue, Summit Cove, Dillon Valley and Silverthorne elementary schools. Preschool tuition costs parents about $200 a month.

The demand for such assistance programs is high and getting higher. Educators say programs like Head Start are important because they ensure preschoolers get basic skills such as reading before school subjects intensify and help narrow the achievement and learning gaps found between lower income students and minorities and the general population.

“I only have seven students who aren’t on some sort of scholarship,” Dillon Valley Elementary preschool teacher Cheri Breeman said Saturday at the playhouse installation. “Most of them need the help. And we have 35 students on the waiting list.”

Apex’s owners installed the playhouse, with help from Mid-Mountain Crane Service, which donated its time and equipment to lift the playhouse from the trailer on which it was built.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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