Longtime Depot owner James Loo will take possession of the historic Silver Bell building, Ah Haa School’s current Pacific Street headquarters, “as part of our payment for the Depot building,” Hackanson says.
Although the Depot building, at 6,200 square feet, is roughly the same size as the school’s current space, Hackanson points out that the entire third floor of the Silver Bell is rental apartments – and that “a great deal” of the ground floor “is given over to public space, to moving-around is much more usable.”
Hackanson, who goes into high-gear fundraising this month – “I need to raise at least $100,000,” she says – plans to have finished the move before summer classes start at Ah Haa.
“The building is such a lovely old historic building,” she says, of the Depot, a onetime train station that dates to 1891, the year the Rio Grande Railway reached Telluride; prior to its arrival, burro trains carried supplies in and out of the region. Exactly one century later, Loo renovated the building, which until last year operated as a restaurant.
“We’re thrilled that we can keep its doors wide open for public use, and really excited about the fact that we can do some programs we always wanted to do,” including this summer’s classes in stone carving and plein air painting, which can now be conducted largely outside.
The new space will make room for even more of “our popular dance and cooking classes” as well, Hackanson said.
The move may be coming just in time, with more than 80 children’s classes alone in the summer Ah Haa School brochure. On the summer catalog’s adult-class front, Hackanson says, “I’ll need to sit down and count. I have the draft on my desk right now, and it’s huge!”
Hackanson is working with architect Randy Hodges, from the Summit County area, who has “done a large amount of remodels of historic buildings around Breckenridge,” and who, she reports, “after spending a couple of days in the Depot said, ‘You guys are way ahead. The building is in such lovely shape.’”
In terms of location, Hackanson says the move from the east to the west end of town is a plus. “We don’t have a lot of general foot traffic” at the Silver Bell building, she observes, and now, parking problems abate, with “public parking lots an easy two-block walk.”