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Devils get a downvalley redesign

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GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley High School is getting an $18.7-million facelift next year, and students, staff and community members will likely welcome what’s planned.

Big ticket items included in the remodel are a student commons/cafeteria, a new gymnasium, technology classrooms and a renovated auditorium. Additionally, parking areas in front and back of the school will be improved.

While Eagle Valley is definitely getting an ambitious overhaul, the construction plan doesn’t contemplate an entirely new school at a new location. That’s the plan for Battle Mountain High School, which will move from its current locale in Eagle-Vail to a whole new campus in Edwards.

But a whole new school wasn’t right for Eagle Valley, says Principal Mark Strakbein.

“We have the tradition of being at this corner of the Gypsum community,” he says. “There is feeling of tradition that our students have, our staff has and our community has, and that can’t be replicated.”

The school’s academic wing was razed and rebuilt in the 1990s. The school’s main wing of classrooms is less than 15 years old, but other portions of the campus date back to the 1960s. It’s these aging facilities that will get attention next summer.

When presenting the proposal to students and staff, Strakbein says the new student commons space gets the biggest raves.

“We eat, right now, in a glorified hallway,” Strakbein said. “The cafeteria space is one of the nicest things that will come with this large, open student commons.”

The commons area will be built in the grassy area that lies between the school and the football field. Immediately south of the commons will be a new school gymnasium.

The gym will have seating for approximately 1,000 people. The existing gym will remain in use.

The theater will get new seating and expanded backstage areas, along with new lighting and sound systems. Strakbein said when completed, the theater will become a dual purpose room ” equipped for performances and to serve as a lecture/testing hall.

He noted the theater seats will have fold up tabletops.

Down the hallway from the existing gym, the remodel includes a series of art rooms. The current art rooms will be transformed to science rooms.

An entirely new technology wing is planned where the Bio-building currently sits. The Bio-building equipment will be moved to the school’s enlarged science wing.

While the EVHS community is excited about the remodel, Strakbein noted that

Strakbein says the Class of 2009 will especially be impacted by the work. That group of students will have to live with the inconveniences of construction without ever enjoying the benefits of a newly improved campus.

Hopefully, however, those kids will be a bit mollified by the alternative calendar proposed for their school. As proposed, they will graduate in early May next year.


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