High school blackened in prank | VailDaily.com

High school blackened in prank

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL ” Whoever painted the front entrance of Battle Mountain High School Wednesday could be arrested on suspicion of felony criminal mischief, authorities said.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to an alarm at the school about 1 a.m. and found what looked like paint, but may have included tar, authorities said.

The senior class graduation year ‘2007’ was painted in seven-foot-tall, four-foot- wide numbers on the building’s tan brick. The numbers spanned about 30 feet along the wall to the left of the school’s main entrance.

“I didn’t think it was that clever of a prank,” said freshman Rachel L’ Heureux. “It was stupid.”

‘NIN’ also was painted on the glass doors of the main entrance along with a two-by four-foot black splash of paint on an overhang, said Ted Eicholz of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

The parking lot’s crosswalk also was painted black and random splotches of black paint dotted other parts of the lot, authorities said.

Police have not found any suspects. To clean the graffiti will cost more than $500 dollars, hence the potential felony, Eicholz said.

Authorities did not know how much the clean-up would cost Wednesday afternoon.

Employees from Steammaster were cleaning ‘2007’ Wednesday afternoon after removing most of the black substance from the front door.

An otherwise good year ended on a sour note, said Philip Qualman, vice principal for Battle Mountain.

“They went a little overboard,” he said.

Qualman was already covering the graffiti around 2 a.m. Wednesday to deny “glory” for those who did it, he said.

“I spent the better part of the wee hours painting the parking lot,” he said.

Money to clean the graffiti will come from the seniors’ fund, said athletic director Rich Houghton.

Seniors raise funds during the school year for a gift ” last year’s gift was a message board on school property. This year’s gift was supposed to be a fountain at the new June Creek Elementary School in Edwards.

“That’s a lot of time and something to be proud of ” you know, to come back and see your fountain,” Houghton said.

It was unclear how much money was in the fund Wednesday.

Last year’s prank was relatively harmless, Houghton said.

Seniors pelted underclassmen with water balloons and sprayed them with squirt guns, he said.

“I know a lot of seniors who were pretty upset when they saw it,” Houghton said about the graffiti. “They would rather go out in a more classy fashion.”

Students should not have committed a crime for their senior prank, said Julian Coppeneur, junior and German exchange student.

“It should be something funny that doesn’t damage the school or the image of students,” Coppeneur said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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