On Thursday night, more than 90 people were planning to sleep at the East Boulder Community Center, which has been turned into a temporary warming center during this week's cold snap. Credit: John Herrick

Update: Boulder County said in a tweet on Friday morning that 107 people slept at the warming center the prior night.

City and county officials said about 90 people were at the East Boulder Community Center on Thursday night in need of a place to sleep as temperatures dropped to dangerous lows. 

That demand exceeds initial expectations that about 50 people would turn up to the shelter, which is open to anyone. City and county officials said they have 115 cots and have had enough food to feed everyone several meals per day. The warming center also has showers. 

City and county officials are encouraging anyone in need of a place to sleep to visit the warming center, which is being managed by the Red Cross, city and county officials and volunteers. People can call 303-413-7730 for assistance with transportation to the warming center. Pets are allowed. 

The city’s recreation center at 5660 Sioux Dr. was opened in response to the dangerous Arctic cold front, which on Thursday night, was expected to send temperatures dropping to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The center will remain open until Saturday morning. 

Read: Boulder will open East Boulder Community Center as temporary shelter ahead of this week’s cold front

Kurt Firnhaber, the city’s director of Housing and Human Services, said Thursday afternoon that the city was aware of at least 11 people who were planning to sleep outside and had declined to visit the warming center. 

He said the city will have employees continue to check on them periodically. He said he was not aware of any injuries resulting from the lack of shelter.

The warming center is open to anyone, but city and county officials are encouraging people who can stay at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in North Boulder to do so. 

A spokesperson for the nonprofit Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, the city’s largest adult homeless shelter, said it had enough space on Wednesday night and did not turn away anyone due to capacity. 

On Wednesday, 150 people slept at the shelter and another 42 slept in hotel rooms, according to the shelter. The shelter has increased its capacity to sleep up to 222 people in hotel rooms and shelter beds this week.

John Herrick is a reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for VTDigger.org. Email: john@boulderreportinglab.org.

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