You’ll see some new schools soon |

You’ll see some new schools soon

Matt Terrell
Vail, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” The school district is still churning away at several construction and design projects this summer.

With the passing of a $128 million bond last November, the district got the green light to build new schools, renovate some old ones, upgrade technology and make buildings energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Here’s an update on the progress.

Contractors have finished leveling the site at June Creek Elementary, which is being built on Miller Ranch where Red Canyon High School used to be. Workers are now preparing to dig the school’s foundation.

The school is being modeled on a standardized design for Eagle County elementary schools and will look almost exactly like Brush Creek and Red Hill elementaries.

The district recently increased funding to June Creek Elementary for rising construction costs.

Site preparation work has begun for Red Canyon High School’s new campus. The school will be built on land adjacent to Berry Creek Middle School’s baseball field and will work with Red Canyon’s other campus in Eagle.

The school board recently approved $640,000 to be added to the $1.5 million construction budget to cover rising costs. Construction should begin later this summer. The design is nearly complete and they hope to finish construction by January 2008.

The new facility wasn’t on the original $128 million school bond approved in November, but the school board decided to build the school after getting a better than anticipated deal on the premium bond sale.

Red Canyon students will still be displaced for at least a semester, but they’ll hold classes at Colorado Mountain College.

Schematic designs for Eagle Valley High School’s renovations have been approved and design drawings are in progress.

The $14 million in renovations will include a new student commons area, a lofted entry way, auditorium and a technology wing. The new common area will likely take a food court-like atmosphere with lots of natural lighting and will replace the cramped space that serves as a lunchroom and entrance to the gym and auditorium.

Schematic designs have been approved for Battle Mountain High School, and it’s anticipated that design drawings will be completed in early fall and that construction drawings will be completed after the first part of the new year. Concrete pouring should begin early spring.

As for a state-of-the-art stadium with bleachers and turf at the school, the school board says those things haven’t been approved or disapproved yet, but will be considered when other construction projects make more progress and they have a better idea of how much money will be available.

Work is continuing on a wide range of conservation projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and saving money for the schools. The initial investment was expected to be around $5 million, but the school board approved spending an extra $900,000 on the project to meet increased costs. It could take five to seven years to see a return.

This will be the sort of project where double pane windows and soft light bulbs can make a difference. One school, Red Sandstone Elementary, is slated to have its windows tinted. Then there will be bigger projects like tearing out old, outdated hot-water boilers and installing ultra-efficient boilers.

Most schools should expect variable speed hot water pumping, better climate control systems and customized lighting. Some schools might receive new kitchen equipment, radiant gas heat systems and separate heating units for cafeteria kitchens.

Installation has begun on more than $4 million worth of technology upgrades, most of which will be completed this summer.

The big project is boosting the district’s Internet power by 10 and upgrading the outdated networks to handle large amounts of information. The upgrade will allow teachers to access sounds, videos and programs that they can’t use now because the system is too slow.

The district is also placing large high-definition monitors in most classrooms.

The idea is to envelop kids with technology and keep them competitive in a flattening world of tech-savy, highly educated people from around the globe, director of technology John Kuglin said.

Along with the big Internet upgrade, the school district is also installing secure wireless Internet access and running all of its phone systems through the computer network.

They’ll also be preparing for a future network of security cameras that will run through the computer system.

Staff writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 748-2955 or

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