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Berry Creek breaks ground

Veronica Whitney

Construction of Miller Ranch Road – the main artery of the project that will provide access to the affordable housing complex, the new high school, a recreation site and the new Colorado Mountain College campus – began last week.

The new road, estimated to cost $2.4 million, will be completed in September, says Eagle County Engineer Helen Migchelbrink.

“Everything appears to be right on schedule,” Migchelbrink says.

Miller Ranch Road will run from the Edwards Spur Road east to Berry Creek Middle School, eventually crossing the new Cemetery Road Bridge and intersecting U.S. Highway 6. A bike path also will be built along the new road.

Keith Montag, Eagle County community development director, says construction on a 31.5-acre residential housing project is scheduled to begin in the summer. The 282-unit housing plan – which will be the largest affordable housing project in the county – was approved by the Eagle County commissioners in April.

“The utility work and site preparation will start this summer, and the construction of the units will begin in the fall,” Montag says.

Condominiums, townhomes, duplexes and single family units will be sold for between $123,000 and $254,000, Montag says.

Meanwhile, architects for Colorado Mountain College are still working on the plans for a 35,000-square-foot facility on two and a half acres. CMC administrators initially said the goal was to break ground in August. CMC Vice President Bob Spuhler said in April he expected the new campus to open in the fall of 2003.

But Joe Marquez, CMC spokesman, says construction of the new campus might have to wait until April.

“It’s becoming questionable if we’ll be able to break ground in August because we still don’t have the plans ready and we have to allow contractors to bid on the project,” Marquez says. “We’re trying to make sure we address people’s concerns, and that’s taking a lot of time in the redesign.

“We need to have the design ready by July and then go to bid in August,” Marquez adds.

In April, the Glenwood Springs-based DPA Architectural Group, hired by CMC to design the campus, presented preliminary plans for the estimated $5 million, two-story building, which have two main entrances. The first floor will house administrative offices, computer rooms, ceramic and dance studios, culinary arts, science labs and classrooms. The second floor is slated for faculty rooms, art rooms, a learning lab and more classrooms, according to DPA’s renderings.

Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad says the design on the Berry Creek 5th recreation fields is ready for a site plan review by the planning commission this month.

County commissioners have already appropriated $600,000 from the county supplemental budget. The money is for the construction of three soccer fields in the first phase of the recreational site. Construction on playing fields and parks will begin mid-summer, Ingstad says.

“This is a small part of the total recreation project,” he says. “We’ve talked of putting a lake and softball fields. But we want to move forward with the first phase because there’s a need in the community for these fields.”

The Ranch at Berry Creek, the existing equestrian center in the project’s site, will continue operating on 35 acres until the school district starts building a new high school.

The Berry Creek 5th project will be built on a 105-acre tract owned by Eagle County. The school district is involved in the project because it owns an adjacent, 109-acre parcel known as Miller Ranch. Presently, Berry Creek Middle School and the Eagle County Charter Academy are the only two facilities operating at Miller Ranch.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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