Cracked sidewalks will be fixed |

Cracked sidewalks will be fixed

Scott N. Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyMinturn Middle School will be replacing lockers along with other basic maintenance type equiptment through out the school Wednesday in Minturn.

EAGLE – A shinier school is a happier school.With that in mind, the Eagle County School district is set to spend more than $3.5 million painting, patching and renovating its 16 schools.The repairs range from new lockers and an overhaul for the heating and ventilation system at Battle Mountain High School to new bathroom stalls at Edwards Elementary School. Spending for the coming year is a huge boost over what the district usually spends on routine maintenance. Generally, that tab runs $500,000 per year or less, said Assistant Superintendent Karen Strakbein.The money for the projects will come from the district’s reserve accounts.”It’s like a homeowner using savings for repairs,” Strakbein said. And, while the district’s schools aren’t exactly decrepit, the repairs will be welcome. “We’re excited,” Minturn Middle School Principal Toni Bousch said. “People take pride in their schools, and when you have a facility that looks high quality, people will think it’s a quality school.”The most visible repairs at Minturn will be new paint and new lockers. “The lockers there are very old,” said Sally Ann Bluhm, mother of a Minturn middle schooler. “They get stuck, they get jammed, and the combinations don’t get changed from year to year so kids can get in each other’s lockers. It’s a security issue.”

Bluhm said she’d rather have a school with great academics than one with a fresh coat of paint. “But regular maintenance is important, too,” Bluhm said. “If you don’t do that, things fall apart.”At Edwards Elementary, the regular maintenance in the coming months will include the aforementioned bathroom stalls, and repairs to sidewalks around the front of the building.”I don’t want my children going to schools that aren’t safe,” said Bev Rasmussen, who has children at Edwards. “This is a great building, but after a couple of years, you need to do some work.”The bulk of the repairs at Edwards is items that have been on the to-do list for several years and have finally come to the top, Principal Cyndy Secrist said.”After 14 years, you want a little face-lift,” Secrist said. “Part of it is need, like the privacy the children deserve in the bathrooms. It’s all necessary work.”Students at Battle Mountain High School are generally more eager for the last day of school than new lockers and a better heating system next year, but some said the work is needed.”It’s about time,” ninth grader Anna Seibert said.Classmate Jenny Banner said a better ventilation system will be much appreciated.”Some rooms are really cold and some are really hot,” Banner said.

“From day to day we don’t know whether we’ll be hot or cold,” Assistant Principal Ronda Woodall said. “It’s been very hard for maintenance to keep up.”Banner’s twin brother, Charlie, agreed that the ventilation system could use an overhaul, but his request was more down to earth.”They should spring for some new toilets, with doors,” he said.Banner was happy when Woodall told him that was part of the upgrade plan, too.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or upThe 2005-06 Eagle County School District has put more money into several areas, including:

$83.9 million: Total budget for the 2005-06 school year$7.8 million: Increase in school district spending for 2005-06$3.5 million: Reserve funds used for maintenance and similar projects70: Projected enrollment increase across the district19: New teaching positions created for 2005 -068: Percent increase in spending for health and dental benefitsVail, Colorado

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