Schools will be combined in Eagle-Vail |

Schools will be combined in Eagle-Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Eagle-Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE-VAIL – After years of debate, the Eagle County School Board decided Wednesday night to transform the vacant Battle Mountain High Schoo in Eagle-Vail into a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school. The board voted 4-2 to move students from Meadow Mountain and Minturn Middle Schools into the building. Students could move into the Eagle-Vail school as soon as fall 2011, “pending capital funding availability,” the board’s motion said.

Mike Gass, the district’s executive director of student and innovative programs, said he would present various options for renovations at the next board meeting. Those options will include a range of price tags, funding plans and timelines for a remodel at the old Battle Mountain High School.

Board members said they plan to meet with the Minturn community to discuss repurposing the Minturn Middle School building. The board has not yet decided what to do with the Meadow Mountain Elementary school building after the students move.

School Board members Connie Kincaid-Strahan and Brian Nolan cast the no votes. Kincaid-Strahan said she agrees with the board’s direction but would have liked to see a more detailed plan and timeline attached to the decision. Nolan said he agrees with the plan but said a unanimous “yes” vote would not reflect how torn the board is on the decision. Carrie Benway, Ross Morgan, Jeanne McQueeney and TJ Johnson voted yes.

Benway said combining Minturn Middle and Meadow Mountain Elementary schools will yield operational costs savings. Previous estimates have shown the district could save about $512,000 per year by combining those schools.

Along with saving money, combining the student bodies will lead to more programs for students, Benway said.

“It will bring in more families and more enrollment and funding,” she said.

Eagle-Vail parent Tessa Kirchner said she was pleased with the decision.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for the two communities to move forward in a positive direction,” she said.

Not everyone was happy with the board’s decision.

“I’m disappointed they don’t have a firm plan for what they’re going to do with the schools,” Minturn Councilwoman Shelley Bellm said.

Bellm has three children in the school district, and she has been a vocal opponent of moving Minturn Middle School.

“Most people move to a community with schools and they have just taken a school out of the community,” she said.

Although Bellm is disappointed with the outcome, she said she looks forward to working with the board on finding a new use for Minturn Middle School.

“I’d like to see an educational use,” she said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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