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Strong vision for new Battle Mountain High

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Architectural historians of the not-so-distant future will have a field day looking at buildings constructed well within the range of time when we should have known better. That is to say that many private and public structures built even in the past few years were poorly designed from the energy standpoint. Somehow, the idea that every thermal need could be addressed by using heat or air conditioning became the norm, and the world ” and the global pocketbook ” has suffered accordingly.

It’s encouraging, then, to see change making its way into modern buildings. And it’s good to see it happening locally, as is the case with the new Battle Mountain High School now under construction. As a taxpayer-funded entity, the school district has an extra responsibility to be a leader in the community as well as a good steward of public dollars. By designing the new BMHS with sustainability in mind, the district will make one of the largest and highest-profile buildings in Eagle County a model for where building needs to be.

Looking at what they’ve done, it’s striking how many of these energy-saving solutions are really quite simple. Placing the school on transit paths, using lots of natural light, planting native grasses and using artificial turf for the playing fields are all excellent ways to cut down on energy and water use and should, in the long term, provide savings over what old-style school buildings would use.

Whatever any of us thought about Jimmy Carter’s politics, it’s a shame his vision of greater national energy conservation was dismissed when fuel prices went back down. He showed true leadership by installing solar panels on the White House, but when Ronald Reagan took office in 1980, he had those ripped off the roof. We’ve spent the last 25 years needing to get back on track with energy policy, and hopefully our new local high school is a sign of a brighter future locally and beyond.


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