Washburn embarks on expansion

       The oldest for the youngest is getting newer.
       That's another way of saying that the Westside's Ruth Washburn Cooper-ative Nursery School, whose 43 years of operation reportedly makes it the oldest parent cooperative preschool in Colorado, just broke ground on a 1,600-square-foot expansion.
       The new space will be just north of the existing 5,000-square-foot facility - originally constructed as a single-family house in the 1950s - and will add a new classroom and community room/ library.
       The non-profit organization, which counts on its parents for direction and classroom assistance, has taught youngsters at the 2- acre site at 914 N. 19th St. since 1974.
       “This is a real exciting day for Ruth Washburn School,” said parent and Board of Governors President Steve Smith just before he - along with Administrative Director Leslie Versace, Expansion Committee Chair Liz Arnold, Office Manager Mikki Riggin and a host of eager, hard-hat-clad toddlers - swung shovels into the ground to commemorate the project's start March 3.
       Smith described the expansion as a “leap of faith” for the school, “but it's something we believe is necessary. It will ensure that Ruth Washburn will be a leading school in the community.”
       Also including a remodeling of the existing kitchen, front classroom, storage and parking areas, the project marks the first significant expansion for the cooperative since 1989, according to Versace.
       Miriam “Minnow” McPhee Howbert founded the school on the Westside in 1961, naming it after her aunt, Ruth Washburn. According to the school's website, Washburn's “psychological understanding of each child and belief in each child as a valuable person was an inspiration to early childhood educators throughout the country.”
        The next oldest parent cooperative nursery school in Colorado is one in Denver that was started a year later, Versace said.

Westside Pioneer Article