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Vail looking for temporary home for Children’s Garden of Learning

Town's community development department offices could be childcare center's home for as long as five years

The Vail Gymnastics Center is one option for a new home for the Children's Garden of Learning. But the child care center will need a temporary home before a permanent location is found.
Moving parts The Children’s Garden of Learning has to move from its town-owned Middle Creek site to make way for workforce housing. Workforce housing on the site is an essential element of a deal between the town, Vail Resorts and Triumph Development to avoid building on the Booth Heights property in East Vail.

It’s looking more likely that the Children’s Garden of Learning will live for a while in a temporary home in Vail before a permanent site is found and built.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Vail Town Council, Town Manager Scott Robson told councilmembers that building on the west side of the town’s municipal complex is the most likely temporary home. That building currently houses the town’s community development and housing departments.

Robson told councilmembers that town officials have been in talks with the Children’s Garden board of directors and management. The plan now is to have a memorandum of understanding between the town and the child care facility available for council review and possible approval by Sept. 1.

The idea is to have the new, temporary facility ready by September 2021. A permanent facility for the center could take up to five years, Robson said.

The search for a permanent home continues, but currently is focused on adding a third story to the Vail Gymnastics Center, just east of Red Sandstone Elementary School.

Vail Housing Director George Ruther told councilmembers that the community development building — once the town’s post office — “checks the boxes” for both the Children’s Garden and state licensing officials.

There’s a lot of work to do before the facility moves. The building will need renovation, and the project will need approval from the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission and Vail Design Review Board.

Ruther said that working backwards from an anticipated move date of Sept. 15, 2021, gives the project five or six months for design, cost estimates, town approval and hiring an architect and contractor for the work.

Longtime Vail firm Pierce Austin Architects has done preliminary work on the project. Another longtime local firm, RA Nelson, has been involved in early work on the job.

Mayor Dave Chapin said Pierce Austin should be “a strong candidate” to continue to the design work.”

Councilmember Travis Coggin agreed, noting that the town has long, “strong relationships” with both companies.

Robson noted that it’s essential to complete the move with no interruption in service.

“We have a deficit of child care throughout the valley,” Robson said, adding that the town is also working with Eagle County and other parties to build up the county’s child care resources.

The Children’s Garden is a key element for both Vail and the valley, he added. But all the parties need to work fast.

“Let’s get this right,” Chapin said. “We know how important this is to the community.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.


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