Missy Gerard Demo Day sees Gerard take a whack at building where she started her career (video) | VailDaily.com

Missy Gerard Demo Day sees Gerard take a whack at building where she started her career (video)

EAGLE — When it came time for the school district to knock down the old administration building, it's right that Missy Gerard got the first whack.

Let the record show that Friday, May 4, is Missy Gerard Demo Day.

Under a bright blue Colorado sky, Gerard donned her sunglasses and hardhat, climbed into a house-sized piece of diesel-powered construction equipment and brought a big chunk of that building crashing down.

"It was fun. It was an honor," Gerard said, smiling afterward.

Gerard has been the Eagle County school district's executive assistant for decades — essentially running the people who run the school district, or who think they do — for as long as anyone can remember.

She was in high school when she started her career in that building. Chuck Schwan was the superintendent.

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Superintendents come and go. The good stuff lasts, like Missy Gerard.

The family's Eagle County education roots run deep. Her grandmother retired as a teacher in the adjoining Eagle Valley Elementary School. Her two children went to Eagle Valley High School. So did her mom.

Her granddaughter is there now. Her uncle retired after a career teaching in local schools. Her dad served on the school board.

What goes up, must come down

Demolition started Friday, May 4, because it did not start Thursday. That's because Holy Cross Energy declared that the power to the building needed to be cut off before huge machines could start knocking down walls.

Actually, demolition wasn't supposed to be for another week or so, but school construction projects up and down the valley are ahead of schedule.

It's all part of the district's voter-approved $144 million in construction and renovation projects.

Much of it is concentrated in the western end of the valley: Eagle Valley High School ($31.2 million), Eagle Valley Middle School ($25 million) and Eagle Valley Elementary School ($23.1 million).

"We are so pleased with the outstanding progress made on our construction projects up to this point. Over the summer, there will be more than $120 million worth of construction completed in our schools since the voters in Eagle County passed the $144 million bond measure in 2016," said Kate Cocchiarella, Eagle County school board president.

The numbers run like this:

• $131,770,000 million in bonds were sold for school projects up and down the valley ($230 million total with interest).

• Those bond sales generated an additional $22,332,115, that will also be spent on the those projects.

• That means that the school district has $154,102,115 to spend, instead of the $144 million they thought they were going to have.

• $125 million is being spent on construction through the school openings in September.

• $120 million of that is under contract. That means it's either under construction or has been completed. If it's under construction, then it's scheduled for completion by November 2018.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.