Rifle day care relocation plan could be bad news for church | PostIndependent.com

Rifle day care relocation plan could be bad news for church

Mike McKibbinRifle CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – Summit Preschool and Child Care Center’s plan to purchase the former Emily Griffith Center for Boys north of Rifle could force a food bank and a church to find a new home, church members said.”We don’t want to put Summit down, but we are already here,” said Rifle Christian Fellowship Church member and volunteer Janet Elkins. “We don’t think the community really knows we’re here.”Kathy York, co-pastor at the Rifle Christian Fellowship Church with her husband, David, said the church has rented one floor of the center at 1252 Garfield County Road 294 since December.Summit has 155 children enrolled and has until Aug. 1 to raise $500,000 and close on the purchase of the center and its five acres of land. The lease the center has with the Fellowship of the Rockies Church on Railroad Avenue will not be renewed when it expires at the end of October.Many items, including furniture, books, supplies and other items, were left behind when the Emily Griffith Center closed in June 2007. Tiles remain missing in front of bathroom showers, paint is still splashed on wooden beams and spaghetti hung off the rafters when York gave her first sermon, she said.”It took us a week just to clean the kitchen,” she said. “We’re fixing things as we go.”The church wants to start a preschool program, get the center’s gym suitable for community use as a hospitality center, and eventually host business conferences and the like, York said.York and church member Charity Carnahan estimate it would cost around $25,000 to open the preschool, hopefully by the first of the year.”We don’t want to put a ton of money into it and then have to move out,” said Carnahan. “Youth have always been important to the church, and this has the land for the outdoors activities. We’d love to see Summit get a building, but we already have plans for this one.”An alternative middle school is another option under discussion, York said.The church also wants to install doors on individual rooms that could then be rented to natural gas workers and help alleviate the area housing shortage, York said.The church has made an offer to purchase the building from owner Bill Evans, York said.”But we’re kind of on hold on anything until we know what Summit will do,” she said.Summit administrator Lori Wagner said she still doesn’t know how her program’s efforts will turn out “because we haven’t got the building yet.”Wagner said she is familiar with the Christian Fellowship Church’s programs.”We’re all in the same predicament,” she said.If Summit does purchase and renovate the center, York said, “We know that God has a good building for us, too. We know what it’s like to have no building.”

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