Vail Valley voices: Projects become reality |

Vail Valley voices: Projects become reality

Sandra B. Smyser
Vail, CO Colorado

Just under three years ago, this community passed a bond that would provide the facilities our children deserve for a world-class education.

In November 2006, supporters of 3B invested in a new elementary school on Miller Ranch in Edwards, a new high school to replace Battle Mountain High School on Miller Ranch in Edwards, the repair and upgrade of Eagle Valley High School, the repair and upgrade of facilities throughout the district, technology enhance-ments in all district facili-ties, buying land on the west end for future schools and contingency dollars to begin to repair and remodel the old Battle Mountain High School for future educational and community uses.

June Creek Elementary School, the new elementary school in Edwards, is now headed into its second year with enrollment numbers soaring.

Principal Tracy Barber and her stellar staff have done an amazing job of incorporating 21st Century Learn-ing and Technology and Conversa-tional Spanish into the curriculum while working with local entities such as Gore Range Natural Science School, the Youth Foundation and the Literacy Project to offer unparal-leled educational opportunities for all students.

Two of our high schools were com-pleted just in time for the Sept. 21 start date this year.

The new Battle Mountain High School in Edwards is state-of-the-art in every way, shape and form.

From the performing-arts theater, science rooms and library to the turf athletic field, greenhouse and gym-nasium, this $64 million facility undoubtedly will provide students with the outstanding academic and athletic opportunities they deserve.

In a joint venture with Colorado Mountain College, the culinary-arts kitchen will allow high school stu-dents and college students alike to utilize modern equipment in an unparalleled learning environment.

Beaver Creek Resort Co. also deserves a huge thank-you for help-ing fund the culinary-arts facility.

The Eagle Valley High School remodel boasts a new technology wing, spectacular art rooms, a green-house, a gymnasium and a turf ath-letic field.

In addition, the new “Devils Diner” features a cozy, home-style cafe feel with an abundant amount of win-dows letting the natural light pour inside, quite a step up from the old kitchen and commons area.

The bond package also included high-priority repairs, upgrades and improvements to Eagle Valley High School, which brought it back up to the dis-trict’s standards.

The new Red Canyon High School campus, nestled just between Berry Creek Middle School and the railroad tracks in Edwards, was completed last spring.

RCHS continues to offer the ever-popular Expeditionary Learning Program, which emphasizes high achievement through active learning, character growth and teamwork.

3B also allowed us to make necessary technology enhancements.

Instructional technology districtwide was outdated and needed to be upgraded in order to align our goals of ensur-ing students are prepared to compete in the 21st century and beyond.

Other improvements included the replacement of out-dated fire-detection and alarm systems and intercom sys-tems and other safety-related upgrades.

A detailed engineering study of all the Eagle County School District’s facilities was completed in 2006 by Enno-vate Corp.

The study assessed all heating, air-conditioning, lighting and ventilation systems.

The bond package allowed the district to implement the recommendations of this study, which included replace-ment of boilers with high-efficiency boilers, installation of demand-based ventilation systems and domestic water-heater upgrades.

These upgrades resulted in energy-efficiency improve-ments that reduced future operational costs.

Additionally, facility repairs for roofs, parking lots, carpet and security were addressed.

The bond also enabled us to purchase land on the west end, where student enrollment is growing more rapidly in the valley than it is on the east end.

The district anticipated the need for additional facilities to meet these needs in the future.

Land suitable for a school site was (and is) becoming less and less available, and the district believed it was prudent to plan now for the future.

Lastly, the old Battle Mountain High School facility was built prior to personal computers and related technologies. The piecemeal approach used to address the need for new classrooms and technology over the past three decades resulted in an extremely inefficient campus that did not meet the needs of our students, our teachers and our community.

With appropriate upgrades and repairs, this building can serve future educational and/or community uses.

The board is continuing its discussions around the future of the old Battle Mountain High School.

At its next meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Old Dis-trict Office in Eagle on Third Street, the board is specifical-ly discussing the concept of remodeling the building for use as a Pre-K-8 Expeditionary Learning campus.

If you are interested in this topic, please feel free to attend. Not all communities are so supportive of their public school system.

We are extremely thankful for the residents of Eagle County for helping make these projects a reality, ensuring great schools from east to west for all children in the Eagle County School District.

Thank you to the 3B team for its hard work and endless dedication in spending nearly every minute of the day per-suading the entire Eagle County population to support the bond and encouraging those already in support to help get the word out.

Thank you to all the general contractors, subcontractors and ECS Construction Team for keeping us within (for some projects, under) budget and well ahead of schedule. You made a wise investment for our children, and we are forever grateful.

Sandra B. Smyser is superintendent of the Eagle County School District.

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