Groundbreaking for Vail’s Red Sandstone parking structure is Tuesday, April 3 | VailDaily.com

Groundbreaking for Vail’s Red Sandstone parking structure is Tuesday, April 3

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This artist's representation shows what the new, four-level parking structure at Vail's Red Sandstone Elementary School will look when finished. A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Tuesday, April 3 at 1 p.m. for the $15 million structure.

VAIL — A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of the Red Sandstone parking structure will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, on the school site, located at 551 North Frontage Road W. The new structure will add 160 spaces to be used for public parking and on-site parking for the school.

Members of the Vail Town Council will gather at the site Tuesday with other project leaders to acknowledge the significance of a three-way public-private partnership that has been responsible for the structure's design and funding. In addition to the town of Vail, participation by Eagle County Schools and Vail Resorts has been critical to the project.

'Betterment of the community'

"This parking structure is a wonderful example of what can happen when we all pull together for the betterment of the community," Vail Mayor Dave Chapin said. "It's a fantastic outcome for our school, our residents and our guests."

Planning for the $15 million parking structure began after voters in Eagle County approved a bond issue in 2016 that has provided funding for a significant renovation of Red Sandstone Elementary School. The renovation served as a catalyst for consideration of a parking structure component to address circulation issues at the school, as well as the town's public parking needs, while identifying opportunities for design and construction efficiencies. Eagle County Schools has contributed $1.5 million toward the parking structure.

"This project represents the best of what happens when partners come together to solve a problem for the benefit of our community," said Sandra Mutchler, chief operating officer for Eagle County Schools and the district's lead on their construction projects. "After more than a year of planning, design work and negotiations, seeing both the parking structure construction and the school renovation begin to move forward is really exciting."

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A funding commitment from Vail Resorts has also been instrumental in moving the project forward following approval of the town's request to use $4.3 million pledged by the company in 2005 to help fund new public parking. "The school and parking improvements will be a tremendous example of a public-private collaborative effort benefiting our entire resort community — from our kids to our guests," said Doug Lovell, vice president and chief operating officer for Vail Mountain.

The town will fund the balance of the project, $9.2 million, using Tax Increment Financing funds.

The four-level parking garage will include public restrooms, solar photovoltaic technology and public art. It has been engineered to accommodate two additional floors for future expansion as well as the ability to be re-purposed for multi-use in the event a parking structure is no longer needed.

The construction schedule has been coordinated to coincide with the school's remodel, with the parking structure opening in time for the start of the 2018-19 ski season. Once completed, 120 of the spaces will be available for public parking when school is in session and access to all 160 spaces will be provided during weekends and other nonschool times.