Big kids vs. little kids
EAGLE VAIL – The Eagle County school board has long said it wants to build another high school on the eastern half of the valley, but everyone else isn’t so sure. The committee of volunteers responsible for analyzing school crowding met with school district and school board members for nearly three hours Tuesday. Together, they slogged through page after page of charts and graphs examining employment rates, population growth, birth rates and most importantly- projected student growth. Hiring a private consultant to crunch the numbers yielded new information that many saw for the first time.”The big revelation was just looking at some of the numbers that were generated … and how we’re going to interpret those numbers and what’s the best option,” said Brian Hester, principal of Battle Mountain High School.”I think a new facility needs to be seriously looked at just because what we have here is not serving the students adequately,” Hester said. While Battle Mountain is getting snug, Hester and others weren’t sure if the answer is creating two high schools or one larger high school.
“I didn’t want to see two schools of 500 kids in each high school,” said Karen Eyrich, a mother of four who is volunteering her time on the committee. Eyrich said she didn’t expect the numbers to show such stagnant high school growth, but the data is compelling her to favor one larger high school in Edwards, where land has been set aside in the Miller Ranch area. “I really don’t see that we need two high schools at this end of the valley,” she said. She said Battle Mountain should then be converted into a Kindergarten thought 8th grade school. Creating more space for elementary school students was voiced as a priority because – as many at the meeting already knew and the numbers reinforced – that’s where the growth is.The baby boom of yesterday has turned into the Kindergarten boom of today, and five-year-olds are flooding into Eagle Valley schools, with no sign of stopping in the next few years. Although those at the meeting were inundated with information, the meeting resulted in more questions than answers. Penny LaFaro, a media specialist at Battle Mountain who has seen three children graduate from Eagle Valley schools, said she isn’t fazed.”We’re just getting to the beginning of things, so they’re just putting everything out on the table, so we haven’t had much discussion,” she said. Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14621, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado