TELLURIDE – The Ah Haa School’s Stone Building on N. Willow St. is now under new ownership. Ah Haa’s sale of the facility to the Ferenbach Family will help pay for the school’s new home in the historic Depot building. In fact, the sale is part of Ah Haa’s multi-faceted fundraising plan to pay for the Depot and to build a stable financial future for the school.
“Buying the Depot was a fabulous move for the Ah Haa School – and for the community,” said Fran Brumley, Ah Haa School Board President. “This large facility is quickly becoming a well-used and vital resource for the Telluride region.”
“The old train Depot along the river is a much larger space, allowing us to expand our programs for children and for adults,” Ah Haa’s Executive Director Tracee Hennigar said. The Depot has indoor and outdoor classrooms, gallery space, a ceramics studio, and a commercial kitchen. Local artists regularly use the school’s open studio time, and many area organizations rely on the Depot to hold their classes and special events.
“The sale of the Stone Building puts us that much closer to reaching our fundraising goals for the school,” said Brumley. The Ah Haa Board has launched a three-year campaign to raise nearly $3 million. “Even with the sale of the Stone Building, we still have a long way to go to reach that ambitious goal,” she added. “Our school is well-loved in Telluride. I know the community will step up and help us to meet – surpass – that goal.”
The Ah Haa Board is calling its fundraising effort the Star Campaign, as it has five key and interrelated goals to move the school toward permanent financial stability. The campaign seeks not only to retire the total debt on the purchase of the Depot but also to complete ADA renovations to the historic building, to purchase much-needed equipment and complete additional upgrades and renovations to the building, to boost the school’s operational fund, and finally to support the school’s programming through a robust Annual Giving Program.
Ah Haa will begin the ADA renovations in late November. Its doors will temporarily close, but classes will continue as scheduled at the Stone Building throughout the winter and early spring. The new owners of the Stone Building are long-time supporters of the school, who are allowing the Ah Haa’s American Academy of Bookbinding program and other school programs to continue operating out of the Stone Building. The Depot will reopen its doors in early May, just in time for the busy spring and summer season of classes, programs and events.
“The Ah Haa School is the center for arts and culture in our community,” Hennigar said. “It is a valuable resource and an integral component of the Telluride region.”