Silverthorne elementary school groundbreaking set for April 25 |

Silverthorne elementary school groundbreaking set for April 25

SILVERTHORNE – Groundbreaking for the new $12 million Silverthorne elementary school site in Cottonwood Park is planned for April 25, which school officials say sets them up nicely for a fall 2004 opening.

Barring a couple of motions and some tweaking of plans between Silverthorne and the school district, the Cottonwood Park site is sealed as the location for the town’s next elementary school.

This Wednesday, the Silverthorne council will consider an ordinance that will convey the six-acres of town-owned park land at Highway 9 and Hamilton Creek Road to the district. A public hearing and, if approved, adoption of that ordinance is set for the council’s March 12 meeting. During that same meeting, the school district will present its site plan for the planned school.

After that, the town will step back from its involvement in the project.

“If at the March 12 meeting, the town agrees to the land trade, then our portion is pretty much complete,” said community development director Mark Leidal. “We’d still have to work with the school district on a few issues – upgrading of roads, traffic signals, some of the ball field issues.”

While Cottonwood Park is now undeveloped, the town and the school have agreed to share maintenance costs for the athletic fields. In exchange, those fields would become part of the park and could be used by the public.

“There are a lot of advantages to having the school on this site, including the joint park and town and school district use of fields,” said the school district’s business manager Dan Huenneke. “It’s cost effective in the sense that we can achieve the same goals by having the school district adjacent to a park. It achieves goals that are beneficial to the whole community.”

Leidal said he’s had four or five calls from people who are concerned that the proposed site, next to Highway 9, is not safe for children.

“We’ve directed most of those people to the school district,” he said.

Summit Schools Superintendent Wes Smith said the district plans to take a variety of safety measures, including installing a traffic signal and keeping crossing guards on duty morning and afternoon. The district is also considering building a pedestrian bridge that would allow children to walk over Highway 9.

To round out the school site, the district plans to buy a 1.3 acre adjacent piece of land owned by David Ray. Negotiations for that purchase continue, Huenneke said, adding he could not comment on it further until the deal is done.

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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