Wanted: one facility for alternative high school | VailDaily.com

Wanted: one facility for alternative high school

Julie Imada-Howard

At the moment, the Colorado Mountain College Eagle location is not for sale, but it could be soon.

The Eagle County School District is looking for a new location for the district’s alternative Red Canyon High School, whose lease with the United Methodist Church in Eagle expires at the end of this school year.

The district is currently exploring its options for a new site for the school. That investigation includes begun preliminary discussions with CMC about the possible purchase of the college’s Eagle center.

The school district has had the first right of refusal on a purchase of the CMC Eagle property since 2002. However, CMC vice president David Borofski said the Eagle location is not for sale now, and described the current discussions about the property as a “fact finding mission” about what the district’s needs are and if those needs mesh with those of the college.

“Our board has said one of the things we need to keep in mind is service to Western Eagle county. Even if we do decide to sell the building, we will find some place in the area to continue to serve the community,” said Borofski.

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According to the school district’s finance director Karen Strakbein, school and college officials will be meeting in the near future to explore future lease or sale opportunities at the CMC center in Eagle. Strakbein also noted that other possible locations for Red Canyon are being explored, including a district-owned 1.1 acre parcel just east of the district’s administrative office on Third Street in Eagle.

“The district is open to other options that could meet the needs of the program,” said Strakbein.

Those discussions, however preliminary, have made some local business owners and town officials nervous about the possible impacts on downtown Eagle.

Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce director Tim Cochrane said he’s concerned about the potential impact of a school in a commercial area. That concern is especially keen regarding businesses that sell liquor, since a public school in the area could impact business owners’ future ability to obtain liquor licenses. That sentiment was echoed by Broadway Bar and Grill owner Jeff Forbes.

Forbes has been testing the market to sell the popular downtown restaurant and fears that if the high school moves into the CMC location, it could affect his ability to sell the business.

In an effort to ease businesses’ concerns, Eagle town attorney Ed Sands explained that while state liquor laws state businesses that sell liquor cannot operate with 500 feet of a school, the town has the discretion to adjust those boundaries. Sands added that regardless of what happens with the CMC building, liquor license renewals for an establishe[Image:2/26 sm column]d business in good standing, would be protected, even if the business was sold to a new owner.

Town officials are taking a wait and see approach.

“We are trying to meet with CMC and find out what their plans are for that location. We want to be involved so the public knows what is going on,” said Mayor Roxie Deane. “At this point, until we know what CMC is doing there is not a whole lot the town can say.”

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