Headwaters Center will be hub for education | SkyHiNews.com

Headwaters Center will be hub for education

Winter Park is developing in areas of attainable housing and entertainment, but it is also developing its educational opportunities. The Headwaters Ecology Center, which will do business as the Headwaters Center, will provide the opportunity for Grand County to host public, private, and educational events.

The Headwaters Center will be one of a kind for the area because it will be off the grid. The building will be fully powered by solar energy with battery arrays to store the energy gained from the solar panels.

The Headwaters Center is owned by the Sprout Foundation, who supports non-profit organizations that share their passion for preserving the environment and promoting the healthy development and well-being of children. The Sprout Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private family foundation that serves the Denver Metro Area and Grand County.

The building is part of the Sitzmark North property in Winter Park. It is located north of Telemark Drive.

The unique building will provide connectivity to the Fraser River Trail System. It will be a hub for various events: private events held in rented space and events hosted for the community. There will be space dedicated to providing higher education in Grand County. The Headwaters Center will feature exhibits that focus on water issues and conservation. The center will encourage community members and visitors to appreciate and interact with the river, its wetlands and nature in general. It will be a beautiful addition to the main street through Winter Park, according to Kristin Ashworth Fanch, Director for the Headwaters Center and the Sprout Foundation.

The Headwaters Center will be available for use by the public and for private events. There will be rental space available for every kind of social gathering or event including weddings, plays, dinners, celebrations, reunions, music and for meetings. The center will be a self-sustaining operating foundation.

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Fanch said residents and visitors will be welcome to tour the ecology center to learn about water issues, and will be able to sign up for courses taking place in the Higher Minds Loft. Courses will be offered in conjunction with the Grand County Higher Education initiative and be enhanced with the latest technology.

One of the goals of the Headwaters Center is to offer an integrated experience—integrating the message about water found inside the center with the actual outdoor environment, and with the rest of the town and what it has to offer through connectivity via the Fraser River Trail System, according to Fanch.

Activities such as snowshoeing, biking, and fishing will be offered that encourage people to engage with nature along the Fraser River Trail System, which will immerse people in the wetland and river environment.

The Headwaters Center will provide much needed meeting and event space to the community and a venue for conferences or meetings that would otherwise be held elsewhere, Fanch said. Visitors will be drawn to spend time in the community, which will generate revenue and provide support for the local economy, while local organizations will have a convenient space for meetings.

The ecology center will raise awareness about a precious natural resource—water. "Without water, there would be no Colorado lifestyle," Fanch said.

Higher education will allow residents to prepare for careers, or participate in enrichment opportunities, and encourage people to stay in the county. Courses that address the needs of our community will be offered; including those focused on culinary arts, and as programming is developed, professional certificate programs.

If you have driven by the construction you may think the building resembles a barn, and you are correct. The barn element of the Headwaters Center is being constructed from a reclaimed 1850's Civil War Era timber barn from Western Ohio. A timber frame barn structure lends beauty, authenticity, originality, and flexibility for a multi-use space, according to Fanch.

The Headwaters Center will host a variety of events open to community members and visitors to Grand County. Events include concerts, wine tastings, speakers or seminars, a farmer's market, festivals, local dance nights, or any variety of events that are of interest to the community.

Post-secondary and college level distance learning courses will be offered in the Higher Minds Loft. There will be opportunities for hands-on learning for students interested in the culinary arts, in the fully equipped, professional teaching kitchen.

The Indoor and Outdoor Event Venues and kitchen will be available for rent in mid summer of 2017. Higher Minds Loft for higher education will be completed for the fall of 2017, and Headwaters Ecology Center will be open in the late fall of 2018.

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