Ross Montessori aims for horse farm parcel |

Ross Montessori aims for horse farm parcel

CARBONDALE, Colorado – The state charter Ross Montessori School is pursuing the purchase of a 14-acre parcel that’s part of the Aspen Equestrian Estates east of town for its new school campus.

The decision by the school’s governing board came after an earlier decision in August to pursue another piece of property in Carbondale.

However, the board learned recently that the landowner is no longer willing to sell that property, according to a letter posted on the school’s website this week.

In response, the board voted unanimously to instead pursue the Aspen Equestrian Estates property, located on County Road 100 (Catherine Store Road) near the Highway 82 intersection.

“There has been a robust and intelligent debate over these sites, and there were and are strong feelings about both options,” according to the board’s posted statement.

“The board appreciates the incredible care and dedication that families have shown in helping the board come to its decision, and now asks that we move forward, together, to building a bright future for the school.”

The land purchase is still contingent on the school raising the necessary $1 million in matching funds to go along with an $11.8 million Colorado Building Excellent Schools (BEST) grant that was awarded this summer.

The school has so far raised close to $600,000 through private donations, mostly from parents and grandparents of the approximately 250 students who attend the school. The school has until mid-November to raise the remainder of the matching funds.

RMS operates independently of the Roaring Fork Re-1 school district under the Colorado Charter School Institute. Since being chartered in 2005, the school has been housed in a group of leased modular buildings at Fourth Street and Merrill Avenue in Carbondale.

The BEST grant would allow the school to purchase land and build a new school that could serve approximately 300 students, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

The school draws the majority of its students from the Carbondale area, as well as from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and Garfield County.

The newly identified site would allow for an “authentic Montessori facility, with outdoor classrooms and garden plots; open space for the children to play sports, experiment, and build outside; and a secure, private setting of serenity and natural beauty,” according to the board’s statement.

This is the second year the school was awarded a BEST grant to help with its capital campaign. However, the previous $6.6 million grant required a $5.2 million match. That amount was lowered to $1 million with the new, larger grant award.

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