Keystone Science School builds for growth |

Keystone Science School builds for growth

Alex MillerKeystone, Colorado

KEYSTONE, Colorado It may have seemed an illustrious crowd for a modest groundbreaking. But the state and local leaders who gathered Sunday at Keystone Science School to mark beginning of construction on a revamped dining hall all pointed to the critical role of science education in todays world.Science is a decision-making tool that will help kids grow into adults in a better position to make those decisions , said State Rep. Christine Scanlan. Although she has worked at Keystone Science School herself for many years, Scanlan said she was speaking as a state representative although she noted that plans for the improved dining hall were more than 15 years in the making.County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said the Science School was near and dear to my heart and that it is one of the places that makes Summit County special.For a lot of the kids whove gone to these programs, its been a life changer, Davidson said. Its that special, its that important and were so fortunate to have this place for our children. Whats in storeEllen Reid, director of Keystone Science School, pointed out that the hall serves not only as the main dining area but as the schools primary gathering and teaching space. As such, its tiny kitchen and undersized interior has been outstripped by the schools growth especially in summer.Weve seen a lot of growth in the past three years under Joel Egbert, who runs our summer programs, Reid said. Hes brought a completely new energy to our programs.Reid said the day-camp component of the school is huge and fills a pressing need in the county for parents looking for meaningful summer experiences for kids.The new dining hall will feature increased seating capacity, a health room for sick kids, a complete renovation of the kitchen, bathrooms and other interior areas and a reconfiguration of the building itself. Now, the main entrance is on the north side of the building, which allows cold air to roar in during the winter. The remodeled building will have the entrance on the south side with a vestibule. Also in the plan is some solar panels and possibly a geothermal energy component, Reid said.All of the funds for the renovation have come from the community, Reid said: foundations, businesses and individuals. We have a wonderful group of folks in Summit County and even across the nation whove pitched in and said they want to see this place last, Reid said.The dining hall renovation is the second phase of a series of improvements planned at the school. The first phase in 2007 saw the installation of a small observatory and a yurt just to the south of the dining hall. The next phase after the dining hall refurbishment is still in the planning stage, but may include updates to staff quarters and dorms, Reid said. Somewhere along the line the schools tiny administrative office may get a remake, and Reid said she also hopes creation of an additional learning center will be part of the plan in the coming years.Both Scanlan and Davidson praised Bob Craig, founder of the Keystone Science School and its umbrella organization, the Keystone Center. Craig was unable to be at Saturdays event, but Scanlan said his vision was being fulfilled with improvements to the school.Keystone Science School is so important to this community, she said. And one of the real reasons Bob started the organization in 1976 was to help kids find what the passion of science is all about and to provide a place where they can do it hands-on.For more information, go online at

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