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New schools taking shape across county

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The school district is wrapping up the summer construction season.

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 an update on the progress.



Foundation walls are nearly finished at June Creek Elementary in Edwards, and the concrete floor under its future gymnasium is complete. Construction has also begun on stone walls. Work is on time and on budget, officials say.

The school is being built on Miller Ranch where Red Canyon High School used to be. 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 downvalley.

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Workers have finished pouring the concrete foundation and floor slab for the school, and the steel frame for the building is going up this week. Construction is on schedule and on budget.

The school is being built on land adjacent to Berry Creek Middle School’s baseball field and will work with Red Canyon’s other campus in Eagle. This summer, the school board approved $640,000 to be added to the $1.5 million construction budget to cover rising costs. They hope to finish construction by January 2008.

The new facility wasn’t on the original $128 million school bond approved in November, but the school board decided to build the school after getting a better than anticipated deal on the premium bond sale.



Red Canyon students will still be displaced for at least a semester, and they’re holding classes at Colorado Mountain College.

All the school design drawings are being reviewed. Officials are also working with the town of Gypsum on creating new access points to the school.

The $14 million in renovations will include a new student commons area, a lofted entry way, auditorium and a technology wing. The new common area will likely have 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.

In November, the board will be presented with prices for even more upgrades, which could include a new gym.

Design drawings for the new Battle Mountain are expected to be released on Nov. 1, and those designs include an athletics stadium. Site preparation work began this summer, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday. Construction drawings will be completed after the first part of the new year. Concrete pouring should begin early spring.

Work is continuing on conservation projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and saving money for the schools. Right now, workers are installing digital controls for the heat, vent and air conditioning systems at all the schools. The district is waiting for the proper permits to begin installing more efficient water boilers.

Installation of more than $4 million worth of technology upgrades is nearly finished.

The big project was 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 sounds, videos and programs that they can’t use now because the system is too slow.

Schools will soon be able to access a video service called Video on Demand, which teachers can already access from home.

The district has placed large high-definition monitors in most classrooms. About three schools are still waiting for their monitors.

Along with the big Internet upgrade, the school district has also installed secure wireless Internet access and is 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 mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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