More space for students being created |

More space for students being created

Shane Macomber/Daily file photoRed Canyon High School students take part in a "adjustment to change" exercise last fall at the Edwards campus. They will get a new school building early next year.

EAGLE COUNTY ” The school district will be keeping contractors busy this summer.

With the passing of a $128 million bond last November, the district got the green light to build new schools, renovate some old ones, upgrade technology and make buildings energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Here’s a review of upcoming construction projects:

Construction could start in the next two weeks on June Creek Elementary, which is being built on Miller Ranch where Red Canyon High School now sits, said Tim Brekel with ARC Integrated Program Management, the construction manager for the district.

The school is being modeled on a standardized design for Eagle County elementary schools and will look almost exactly like Brush Creek and Red Hill elementaries.

“We’ll be expanding the kindergarten rooms, putting in some additional classrooms, reworking the administration area to give them a better entryway,” architect Greg Cromer said. “Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. Nothing changes.”

The district recently increased funding to June Creek Elementary for rising construction costs. Brekel also said they’re still working with Eagle County to address future traffic concerns on Miller Ranch Road.

Red Canyon will have to make room for the new elementary, but they’ll be getting a new, much better building just across the street.

The new campus will be built on land adjacent to Berry Creek Middle School’s baseball field and will work with Red Canyon’s other campus in Eagle. Construction should begin later this summer. The design is about 90 percent complete and they hope to finish construction by January 2008.

Red Canyon is an alternative high school that places emphasis on individualized curriculums, hands on learning and in-depth studies on single, specific topic; the school has been growing every year and the new building should be able to meet the community’s future need, Principal Wade Hill said.

Red Canyon’s new campus was originally part of the November bond question but later omitted. When the bonds were sold in January, the school district got a much better deal than anticipated and decided to use the extra money to build a new Red Canyon campus.

The $14 million in renovations will include a new student commons area, a lofted entry way, auditorium and a technology wing. If more money comes in, there could be a second gymnasium and new locker rooms added.

The new common area will likely take a food court-like atmosphere with lots of natural lighting and will replace the cramped space that serves as a lunchroom and entrance to the gym and auditorium.

Planners hope to ease traffic by adding parking to the back of the building and providing access to the school off Valley Road.

The new Battle Mountain is still deep in the design process, and construction at its future home in Edwards isn’t likely to start this summer. Site preparation work could begin in late fall though, Brekel said.

With electric and gas bills adding up to around $1.4 million a year, the district is looking to cut back on its energy use.

Work has already started on a wide range of conservation projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and saving money in the long run. The initial investment was expected to be around $5 million, but the school board recently approved spending an extra $900,000 on the project to meet increased costs. It could take five to seven years to see a return.

This will be the sort of project where double pane windows and soft light bulbs can make a difference. One school, Red Sandstone Elementary, is slated to have its windows tinted. Then there will be bigger projects like tearing out old, outdated hot-water boilers and installing ultra-efficient boilers.

Most schools should expect variable speed hot water pumping, better climate control systems and customized lighting. Some schools might receive new kitchen equipment, radiant gas heat systems and separate heating units for cafeteria kitchens.

The 21st century classroom is coming to the school district. More than $4 million will be spent on extensive technology upgrades, most of which will be completed this summer.

The big project is boosting the district’s Internet power by 10 and upgrading the outdated networks to handle large amounts of information. The upgrade will allow teachers to access a world of sounds, videos and programs that they can’t use now because the system is too slow.

The district is also considering placing projection systems or 40-inch high-definition monitors in most classrooms.

The idea is to envelop kids with technology and keep them competitive in a flattening world of tech-savy, highly educated people from around the globe, director of technology John Kuglin said.

Along with the big Internet upgrade, the school district is also installing secure wireless Internet access and running all of its phone systems through the computer network.

They’ll also be preparing for a future network of security cameras that will run through the computer system.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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