CREEDE — The Creede Early Learning Center (CELC) is making significant progress on a new addition to its building that will allow the center to expand its programs and offer more room for children attending the center.
“This is a great opportunity for us to expand and the flexibility to change in order to meet the needs of the community,” said Executive Director Beverlee Keilman.
The new building being constructed was paid for by grant funding and has been a work in progress for the last two years. According to CELC coordinator and grant writer Kara Brittain, the center has had plans to start the project for some time and is excited to see their dreams becoming reality.
CELC began to raise funding through several efforts starting with a dinner and fundraiser at Humphrey's Ranch in 2019. That same year, CELC was awarded funding through the City of Creede’s Virginia Christensen Fund Grant.
Between the two initial funding sources, the center raised $15,000 to start the project.
“We are so grateful for the community and the support we have been shown for this project,” said Brittain.
After getting the initial funding and beginning to plan for the project, CELC was awarded additional funding through the El Pomar Foundation in the amount of $20,000 and the Buell Foundation which awarded the center $60,463 in order hit the match goal for a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant. The DOLA grant was completed in partnership with City of Creede for the original funding of $322,847 that was later increased due to the rising cost of materials.
CELC has worked through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and broke ground in February of this year.
“Our new building, when complete, will house 16 preschool students and once we complete upgrades in the existing building, we will be able to house 16 to 20 next age students. At this point, the foundation is done, and crews will begin work on framing in coming days. We are just so excited,” said Keilman.
Keilman said that if all goes to plan, the project should be complete by Labor Day weekend and the center plans to host a ribbon cutting when the building is finished.
The center has a long history in Creede and in recent years was gifted the right to use the land through a unique agreement with the City of Creede and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The center has a 100-year lease on the building and offers the only daycare and preschool opportunity in Creede.
Helmstetler Engineering completed the architectural engineering work and Zorro Construction is leading the project.