Roughly 6,700 students head back to class, as Eagle County’s public schools open for 2018-19 | VailDaily.com

Roughly 6,700 students head back to class, as Eagle County’s public schools open for 2018-19

EAGLE — Local schools started classes the Tuesday after Labor Day, Sept. 4.

With tens of millions of dollars of new and renovated buildings opening to students for the first time, about the only glitch was the bells in a middle school, which might be the most First World problem local students will deal with through the entire 2018-19 school year.

OK, and construction crews ruptured a gas main at Eagle Valley Middle School on Tuesday afternoon. Students were evacuated to the Eagle United Methodist Church on Second Street. All students and staff were safe, school district officials said.

Roughly 6,700 little blessings from above started public school on Tuesday; the official count day is in early October. Private schools have been in session for a couple of weeks.

Middle and high schools started in earnest Tuesday. Elementary schools use the first couple of days for testing and are staggering the starts of their school years.

Freshmen first

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Freshman orientation was the order of the day in high schools, where Eagle Valley High School ninth-graders were greeted by an almost entirely new building. What wasn't new was stripped down to the bones and rebuilt.

They were also greeted by seniors working as members of Link Crew, volunteers who will help them make the transition from middle school to high school.

Walk in Eagle Valley's front door and the first thing you notice is the wide, well-lit hallways.

Gone is the crowding, as students were packed into the narrow end of a funnel that served as a hallway in previous decades.

Gone also are lockers — mostly.

"Students can request one if they want," said Dan Dougherty, the school district's new communications chief.

The campus is big, and passing periods are still small, so many students didn't use their lockers anyway, insisting there wasn't time to get to their lockers and to their next classes.

Student common areas abound on all floors outside the classrooms, appearing more like coffee shops than regimented rows. Inside the classrooms, you'll find most of those regimented rows, although everything is new.

Tech has been upgraded in all the schools, including security surveillance systems. Eagle Valley has three entry points, and each is covered by a security system and a staffed security checkpoint.

There's a gate that guards the entrance to Eagle Valley's Ramunno Field and Hot Stuff Stadium.

Opening ceremonies and receptions are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5, at Eagle Valley Elementary School ($23.1 million) and Eagle Valley Middle School ($25 million) and Thursday, Sept. 6, for Eagle Valley High School ($31.2 million).

It's all part of the bond program Eagle County voters approved in November 2016.

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

If You Go …

What: Ribbon cutting at new local schools.

When: 5 pm. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Eagle Valley Elementary School; 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, Eagle Valley Middle School; 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, Eagle Valley High School.

Where: At the new buildings on Third Street in Eagle and on U.S. Highway 6 in Gypsum.

More information: For information, go to eagleschools.net.