Rejuvenated Rosie’s Schoolhouse in midst of first semester back in the classroom |

Rejuvenated Rosie’s Schoolhouse in midst of first semester back in the classroom

New space has K-8 Ambleside School looking at high school expansion

Mrs. Fletcher does math problems with her second and third graders at Ambleside School Rocky Mountains in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The building affectionately known as Rosie’s Schoolhouse was dark, dirty and unoccupied. It had become a sore spot for the New Castle community, deemed unusable. Disrepair and neglect had let the historic eastern bookend to the town’s Main Street fall out of good graces.

Now it’s back on its path as a proud piece of New Castle history.

Ambleside, a private Christian school that had operated out of the basement of Mountain View Church in Glenwood Springs, needed a new home following the 2020-21 school year. Its lease was up, and it was outgrowing the space anyway. As New Castle began exploring options for its vacant 17,000-square-foot space and Ambleside needed a new home, a natural fit was found.

“The nice thing is that the entire building is just for this school,” Ambleside eighth-grader Joshua Cowan said. “When it started, it was in a pretty worn-down condition, but it’s pretty nice, and it’s a really nice environment. It’s a lot better than it was.”

The exterior of the renovated old school house in New Castle is now the Ambleside School Rocky Mountains in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Contractors worked seven days a week from May through August to get the building up to standard to host a school. The fire alarms had to be updated, and the electrical brought up to code. Principal Jesseca Toovey said the original coal-fed boiler was still in place.

Work is still being done and funds are still being raised, but the school opened its new doors on Sept. 7.

When it’s all said and done, the new home will be a much better fit than Ambleside’s previous stay — and in some ways already is. Toovey said that the majority of students come from the area between Rifle and New Castle to begin with, making the move out of Glenwood Springs a benefit.

According to eighth-grader Abigail Dickens — who has attended Ambleside since first grade — her previous classroom in the church had no windows. Students get access to Burning Mountain Park and will have a gymnasium once renovations are complete.

It’s also a space the school can grow into. The school year is in full swing and serving its full student population while using only one of the building’s two floors.

Slowly, the school plans to fill the space. By the end of it, Ambleside will no longer be a K-8; it’ll be a K-12.

“I think there’s a need for more private education, especially in the high school region here in the area,” Toovey said. “That really is part of having a larger building as well as being able to do a lot of the things having the gymnasium allows us to do.”

For the town, it marks a restoration of an important landmark. The white-brick building was built in 1910 and functioned as a school for more than 80 years, as previously reported by the Post Independent. After it was dropped as a school, former teacher Rosie Ferrin bought it in the 1990s, where it jumped from function to function, never finding one that would sustain.

The gymnasium renovation is still underway at Ambleside School Rocky Mountains in New Castle.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

It was an apartment complex when Ferrin died in 2019, with control of the property transitioning to her sisters, according to Toovey.

New Castle town manager David Reynolds said there were discussions about what to do next with Rosie’s, but nothing seemed right until the proposition for a return to its roots came along.

“When we started conversations with the school, I think we understood the mission of the school and what we wanted to do with the building, (and) the more we saw that this was absolutely the right fit and some sense to it and maybe some poetic justice,” Reynolds said.

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