Daily Editorial: Battle Mountain estates? | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Battle Mountain estates?

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

For the last few years, there have been any number of ideas for the old Battle Mountain High School site in Eagle-Vail.

From all their public statements, Eagle County School District officials frankly aren’t sure what should become of the multi-acre campus, except for saying the part of the school that sits on land acquired years ago from the State Land Board needs to remain a school, or the district will have to give the land back to the state. So use the state land for an alternative high school, or a magnet school, or some other educational purpose. But that’s just a relatively small part of the campus, the rest of which belongs to the school district, which means it belongs to us.

The uses for the campus that have been discussed so far are underwhelming, and frankly, all are poor uses for a valley where buildable land is at a premium.

So here’s something to think about: The district needs to start talking seriously to developers about putting housing, and lots of it, on the high school site. Since there’s still a very good elementary school on the site, aiming at young families in a Miller Ranch-style neighborhood would be ideal.

There are several stumbling blocks ” mainly traffic and roads ” that would have to be ironed out, but there are enough advantages to give the idea a serious look.

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The property is already developed, with enough water, sewer and electric service for 800 high schoolers and several dozen teachers and staff.

The school district needs housing for teachers and other employees if it’s going to be serious about attracting good people, and a bunch of townhomes minutes from the ski slopes and Wal-Mart could be a nice lure, especially if the district helped with down payments and other costs.

Any leftover housing ” deed-restricted, of course ” could be offered to firefighters, cops, paramedics and other public employees.

The idea would require an unheard-of level of cooperation between several local governments and a private developer, but the alternative is letting an invaluable piece of land go essentially fallow. The need is too great to let that happen.

” Scott N. Miller for the Editorial Board

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