New and improved |

New and improved

After days of moving, arranging, classes are back in session at Vail's public elementary school

Physical education teacher Becky Matsen high-fives students on their first day back in their new school Wednesday in Vail. Red Sandstone Elementary's renovation isn't 100 percent done, but students are able to move in before the end of the school year.
Chris Dillmann

VAIL — Red Sandstone Elementary School has that wonderful new school smell about it.

It’s like new car smell, but better because you don’t have to trust your teenager with the keys to your school.

After days of moving, arranging and rearranging, Red Sandstone Elementary School students had their first day of classes in their new building.

After spending the year in trailer-type classrooms in Minturn’s Maloit Park, students walked into their new building with wide eyes and mouths agape.

“It’s a dream come true!” said one first grader.

Another first grader said, “I’m going to cry happy tears!”

Principal Marcie Laidman was consumed with a grateful smile as she and her faculty and staff welcomed the students.

“We feel extremely blessed to have this beautiful facility and for the taxpayers who made it possible. It’s breathtaking to be on receiving end of this outpouring,” Laidman said. “Everyone is truly in awe.”

Renovating Red Sandstone Elementary School was initially budgeted at $12.1 million. Because of many challenges, it cost $13.8 million to rebuild the facility. In the 2016 election, voters gave the school district the green light to borrow money to build and rebuild schools up and down the valley.

The district sold $131,770,000 million in bonds ($230 million total with interest) to pay for it all.

Because district officials waited for an upward bump in the bond market, the bond sales generated an additional $22,332,115. That is also being spent on school projects.

That means that the school district had $154,102,115 to spend, more than $10 million above the $144 million Eagle County voters thought they were going to have.

Red Sandstone Elementary School is also part of a Vail parking structure project that is a partnership between the school district, Vail Resorts and the town of Vail.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for Red Sandstone Elementary School is scheduled for April 10.

Support Local Journalism