Monthly Archives: May 2008
The Telluride Watch
by Marta Tarbell
“It will be really nice to have a dedicated space for students,” says Emily Dresslar, executive director of the Telluride Academy – which was, until last week, operated entirely out of its 400-square-foot office in the Telluride High School.
Dresslar and Director of Finance Larry Rosen were showing visitors around the 4,000 square-foot Silver Bell Building, known most recently as headquarters for the recently relocated Ah Haa School, which the Academy now leases from Academy parent James Loo.
The Academy will continue to operate its programs out of THS – its leases dozens of classrooms to that end every summer, for logistical reasons – imagine the hundreds of children who are dropped off and picked up Monday-Thursdays, June-August converging on the tiny corner of Pacific and Spruce, where the new offices are located, for starters.
But it’s Dresslar’s hope that the Silver Bell will provide more than the obvious need for office space (the Academy is settling into the office under the stained glass window that features a smoldering cigarette in an ashtray, a beer stein and a human hand with a royal flush – “and he’s cheating,” she observes, pointing to an ace peeking out from the player’s shirtcuff. “Not a great message.”)
It’s Dresslar’s plan for the Silver Bell to operate not just as office space for the Academy, which employs four year-round staffers to oversee and run more than 100 summer programs (and one spring program, which sends the Mudd Butts International Mystery Theatre Troupe overseas every spring), but as an after-school gathering place for the dozens of kids who Wilkinson Library Youth Services Director Elizabeth Tracy reports come to library on a regular basis.
“It’s our hope that students will have more options here,” explains Dresslar, who was part of a group that met earlier this month about the mounting need for after-school activities, “between the library and us and Youth Link,” the youth activity center just east of the Telluride Marshal’s offices, “and Town Park.”
But that’s not all. Dresslar also plans to rent out the 2,000-square-foot downstairs, its linoleum floors once home to the messier Ah Haa School arts programs – her first taker is the Telluride High School prom, although she’s hoping for a full-time resident sometime in the future.
And there’s more. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” she enthuses, “if there were several nonprofit entities under one roof,” sharing a copier and other office necessities as well as the boardroom/after-school computer workroom, complete with a conference table and chairs.
She’s contemplating, as well, using the ample space as a venue for other nonprofit programs – like gathering for [the Telluride Institute’s] Ashley Boling starting a watershed-education hike from here, she says.
“We’re very excited,” she says, looking to the future. As for the past, former Ah Haa School Executive Director Judy Kohin stopped by to offer best wishes the other day; the Ah Haa School’s move from the Silver Bell to its new home at the Depot “started the shuffle,” Dresslar says, that landed the Academy in its old digs.
“I’m glad it could stay in the public realm,” she says of the Silver Bell, which started life as a house of ill repute in 19th century Telluride.
“It’s going to be a great place for recreation, education, cultural enrichment – and homework,” she says of the space.
The Telluride Academy will host a ribbon-cutting open house Friday, May 30, starting at 4 p.m., following high school graduation ceremonies.