KayLynn Roberts-McMurray photo
Students and staff at the groundbreaking of Learning Bridge Charter School. They are excited to start construction for their new school

The Ely Times

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Wednesday for the new Learning Bridge Charter School.  

To commemorate, the school held the event on the last day of school, so the students could participate and see where some of the students will be attending school in the near future. 

Members from the community, parents, board members, faculty and founders of the school, Julie and Warren Krch, watched as Linda and Dale Derbidge, with the Derbidge Family Trust dug their gold shovels into the dirt, celebrating a milestone.  

It was a highly spirited and emotional event. Linda Derbidge had tears in her eyes when she expressed her excitement of the groundbreaking.  

“It has been a long time, a lot of work, but it’s all worth it,” she said.

The new facility is a lynchpin of a plan that calls for construction of a new school. The school will be located on 13th Street South and Avenue M.  

The Learning Bridge originally opened in 2013, and through the years has grown from kindergarten through sixth grade, and in 2014 seventh and eighth grades were added to the schools curriculum.  

In July of 2016, the Learning Bridge board voted to go forward with the dream of having their own site. In October 2017, a committee was created to write the amendments to the charter.  

By January 2018, the State Public Charter School Authority Board approved Learning Bridge to continue with its plans to build a new facility.    

The Learning Bridge applied with the USDA for a loan to assist with the funding of the project.

A gym, classrooms, offices and any support rooms necessary are in the plans.  The school will continue as a K-8 program with 20 students per classroom.     

Board member Linda Davies said, “I am beyond excited, the county needs this, the school needs this, it’s just wonderful.” 

Shawna Thiel, board member and parent of Learning Bridge students, said,  “We are planting some roots, to be able to plant a plant and come back 20 years and see the progress, these are roots for this school.”

State Director of the USDA Rural Development, Phil Cowee, and several of this staff, left Carson early in the morning and traveled several hundred miles to attend the event. “We are providing some funding for the charter school, and this is an exciting event for Ely. I wouldn’t miss it.”

Julie Krch thanked parents, team members and everyone who attended the event.  “There are so many we are thankful for, everything past and present.”

Krch addressed the students, “If you go away for the summer, it’s going to look a lot different when you get back,  and students…. if you weren’t with us, we wouldn’t be here so thank you.”

Estimated date for construction to be completed is June 2020.