Eagle-Vail high school makeover could cost $10.5 million | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail high school makeover could cost $10.5 million

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado – Renovations at the old Battle Mountain High School building in Eagle-Vail took another step forward this week.

Eagle County School Board members gave the district permission to borrow $7.7 million for project.

The vacant building will be refashioned into a school for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students.

Students from Minturn Middle School and Meadow Mountain Elementary schools will be combined at the former high school beginning in fall 2011. Graduating fifth-graders from Red Sandstone Elementary School will also matriculate into the Eagle-Vail school for sixth through eighth grades. Currently those students move on to Minturn Middle School.

The Eagle-Vail high school is currently empty because students moved to the new Battle Mountain High School in Edwards last fall.

Phil Onofrio, the district’s chief financial officer, said the total budget for the renovation at the Eagle-Vail school is $10.5 million. He expects the district to borrow $7.7 million for the project. He expects the district’s annual debt payment to be about $475,000. Money for those payments will come from the general fund, he said. The money the district expects to save by combining Meadow Mountain Elementary and Minturn Middle School should cover the annual payments, he said. The district expects to save about a half million dollars each year on utilities, maintenance and the elimination of redundant staff positions.

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Other sources of funding for the renovation include $3 million from a $128 million bond issue voters approved in 2006 for a variety of construction projects.

Makeover begins

The district has hired Evans Chaffee Construction Group in Avon as the general contractor for the renovation.

Company owner Chris Evans said he expects work to begin around Nov. 1 and wrap up at end of June or early July.

Work will include:

• Building a new playground for pre-school students outside the current music room

• Building a playground for elementary school students on the north side of the building between the stadium and the cafeteria.

• Removing the current bus loop. Re-routing the bus loop and adding a separate parent drop-off area for pre-school students.

• New paint and floors throughout the building

• Replacing three boilers that date back to 1973.

• Replacing the air-controlled system for the heater with a digital system.

• Replacing chalk boards with dry erase boards.

• Adding ceiling insulation

• Removing wooden decks outside the school

District employees started getting the building ready for its renovation about two months ago, said Ray Scott, the district’s director of construction. Workers have removed lockers on the lower floors (some will be replaced with cubbies) and trashed old furniture.

As for Meadow Mountain Elementary, which stands adjacent to the old Battle Mountain High School, it’s slated for demolition.

Scott expects the demolition to begin in mid-July. He said it’s a roughly four month process. Estimates suggest the demolition will cost about $375,000. That cost is included in the total project budget, Scott said.

Out in Minturn, the fate of the Minturn Middle School building remains undecided.

“The next step is: We’re going to try to engage the Minturn community and see what they think it should be,” School board member Jeanne McQueeney said.

On Wednesday night, Minturn town council plans to discuss the school district’s request to annex some land into the town of Minturn, Minturn town manager Jim White said. The 105 acres belongs to the school district and includes the Minturn Middle School building and Maloit Park, he said. The land currently stands in unincorporated Eagle County, he said. If the deal goes through, the school district would deed the town of Minturn the 18 acres on which the town’s water treatment plant stands, White said.

Getting ready

As plans for the old Battle Mountain High School take shape, folks at Minturn Middle School and Meadow Mountain Elementary are getting ready for their big merge.

Missi Carpenter will be the principal of the combined school in Eagle-Vail and has already started working on the transition.

Carpenter became principal of Meadow Mountain Elementary last school year. This school year, she will take on the additional role of principal of Minturn Middle School. She replaces Minturn Middle School Principal Toni Boush, who left for a job in Thailand.

Eric Olsen will be the assistant principal of the combined school in Eagle-Vail. This year, he has joined Meadow Mountain Elementary and Minturn Middle School as assistant principal at both schools.

Carpenter said she hopes to pick a name for the Eagle-Vail school by the second week in September. Parents and students will be able to choose from five names for the school. Voting on the school websites should begin roughly next week, Carpenter said.

To ease the merge into a single school, Meadow Mountain Elementary and Minturn Middle School will be holding at least five joint events throughout the school year, Carpenter said. They plan a combined holiday concert at Minturn Middle School and a poetry jam at Meadow Mountain.

As the move approaches, Carpenter said a committee is forming to discuss how to integrate graduating Red Sandstone Elementary students into the pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school.

“It’s really exciting,” Carpenter said. “We have to make sure we do a good job of bringing in Red Sandstone, trying to integrate their feedback and planning.”

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.