Red Canyon West High School students cut the ribbon on their new voter-approved building
GYPSUM — Approving their school, turning the dirt, cutting the ribbon — all are acts of faith by a community that believes in its students, Red Canyon West High School students said.
Red Canyon West students cut the ribbon on their new building under Wednesday afternoon’s sunshine. The event was brief; there was learning to be done and they were anxious to get back to class.
“This building is a great gift from our community. This is an act of faith that we’re doing good things. Thank you,” Brianna Vastine, a junior, said.
Micayla Gallegos said that if it wasn’t for her school, she doesn’t know where she would be.
“I want to say thank you for our new campus,” Gallegos said.
Open for business
Red Canyon West High School opened its doors to students on Monday when they returned from Christmas break. Faculty and staff helped move the school from its former home in downtown Eagle to its new building next to the Spring Creek campus.
Among his other Christmas gifts, Red Canyon Principal Troy Dudley got a hand truck to help with the move. Wednesday afternoon, Dudley thanked the community and school board for believing in the students and the Red Canyon mission.
“This has been something we have wanted and worked toward for a long time. It’s your hard work and grit that made this possible, and all the Red Canyon graduates before you,” Dudley said to the students gathered for the ribbon cutting. “This does not happen. This isn’t normal. Most alternative high schools are in a trailer behind the really fancy school.”
Two buildings, one mission
Red Canyon High School meets in two buildings, one in Edwards and the new building in Gypsum.
“This is one of the proudest things I’ve ever been involved with in my 11 years doing this work, knowing we have Red Canyon High School in two permanent homes,” Eagle County Schools Board President Kate Cocchiarella said.
Red Canyon students in the western end of the valley have attended classes in converted ranch houses, spare rooms in existing school buildings and a former Chevy dealership.
The new building will also be the school board’s meeting room. In fact, the board held its first meeting there Wednesday after the ribbon cutting.
For the past several years, Eagle County Schools leased a building on Broadway Street in downtown. In the 1930s, that building was a Chevrolet dealership.
Even after voters approved the projects in 2016, there was some uncertainty about where the new Red Canyon building would go. For a while, the school district considered a building on Chambers Road in Eagle. However, costs and the building’s close proximity to a marijuana dispensary kicked it off the table.
Eventually, the owner of the 2.7 acres behind the district’s new Spring Creek campus in Gypsum’s Airport Business Park approached the school district with an offer to sell, and they hammered out a deal to buy the property.
The new Red Canyon West building is part of $154 million worth of voter-approved construction and renovation projects up and down the Vail Valley. Red Canyon joins Eagle Valley Elementary, Eagle Valley Middle and Eagle Valley High School in the running list of completed building projects.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.