Vail’s rebuilt Red Sandstone Elementary is ready for students |

Vail’s rebuilt Red Sandstone Elementary is ready for students

School is among the last of the voter-approved bond projects

Vail's new Red Sandstone Elementary School will host classes March 13. It's among the last of the voter-approved bond projects.

VAIL — Assume the lotus position and repeat it like a mantra: "On time and on (almost) budget."

Or as close to on-budget as Eagle County Schools and construction crews could keep the Red Sandstone Elementary School project.

The renovation was initially budgeted at $12.1 million and it cost $13.8 million to rebuild Vail's public elementary school.

Construction professionals are fond of saying that projects like RSES are opportunities to overcome challenges.

Among those challenges: Asbestos abatement that was more extensive than anticipated, water and sewer utilities that had to be almost completely rebuilt because they weren't up to code and more demolition than what was in the original contract.

Construction workers were faced with unknown code conditions in the building when the work began. When the school’s exterior facade was removed, they learned that the framing would need significant upgrading.

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"Working hand in hand with the school district and owner’s representative RLH, we were able to meet the timeframe that worked for the school and their state testing needs while minimizing budget impact,” Justin Fahnstock, the project manager for Denver-based Haselden Construction, said in a written statement.

Sandy Mutchler, the chief operations officer for Eagle County Schools,  said in the same announcement that Red Sandstone ended up being a "challenging project."

"A lot of unexpected work related to the original building envelope had to be updated, but now the community has a wonderfully built asset that will last decades into the future," Mutchler said.

You have the money

The school district had the money after Eagle County voters voted in Nov. 2016 to let the school district 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.

And a parking structure

Red Sandstone is also part of a parking structure project, a collaborative project between the school district, Vail Resorts and the town of Vail. The school had to be completed first to accommodate construction workflow.

The lower two levels of the parking garage are open now. When the structure and school are both complete, it will provide 160 more parking spaces.

Classes start Wednesday

Students will start school in their new building on Wednesday, the school district announced.

There was no school for Red Sandstone Elementary on Monday. On Tuesday, community partners including the Vail Recreation District, Walking Mountains Science Center, and YouthPower 365, will provide academic and enrichment activities for the last day at Camp Minturn, the school's temporary home while the building was being rebuilt.

Following March's move, the modulars at Camp Minturn will be transported to their new owners.

A Red Sandstone ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for April 10, 2019.