A ribbon cutting for Vail’s newest public parking garage and guided tours of the community’s remodeled elementary school will be taking place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21. The activities will celebrate completion of the Red Sandstone parking garage and the reopening of the school following a $14 million renovation of the building. Together, the facilities represent a multi-year partnership involving countywide voters, Eagle County Schools, Vail Resorts and the Town of Vail.
Members of the public are encouraged to join representatives from the Eagle County School Board, Vail Town Council, Art in Public Places, the senior leadership team from Vail Resorts and others in recognition of the significant undertaking.
The afternoon will include a ribbon cutting for the garage promptly at 3:30 p.m. followed by school tours and refreshments. Attendees are asked to park on the third level of the parking garage which is accessed from the east side.
Among those who will be called upon to speak during the celebration will be Kate Cocchiarella, Board of Education president; Beth Howard, vice president and chief operating officer Vail Mountain; and Dave Chapin, Vail Mayor.
“There are too many important and significant upgrades from a construction perspective for me to mention, but I want to talk about the new open feeling and abundant natural light. Rather than the previous cavernous atmosphere, students and staff enjoy a learning space that is as expansive as their imaginations.” --RSES Principal Marcie Laidman
"It is very exciting to see this private-public partnership result in such impactful projects for the Vail community. The elementary school enhancements and delivering incremental public parking are win-wins for both our local kids and our guests.” --Beth Howard, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vail Mountain
“There’s no better way to celebrate the success of this partnership than to invite our community members to experience these amazing facilities first-hand and to witness the pride we all take in elevating these facilities to not only address our needs of today, but also into the future. None of this would have happened without our partners coming together as one!” --Dave Chapin, Vail Mayor
Red Sandstone Elementary School
As the only public school located in the heart of Vail, Red Sandstone Elementary epitomizes the concept of a community school. The school site is elevated above the interstate and is a visually prominent landmark for residents and visitors. The original school was built in 1977, and it showed. Prior to the renovation, the architectural style had become out-of-date with the surrounding structures of Vail. The existing structure was also poorly out-of-date for accessibility and security issues, and major systems needed significant updating. Finally, parking for the school was insufficient and potentially hazardous.
Consequently, Red Sandstone Elementary School underwent substantial renovation as a result of voter approval of the 3B Bond initiative. Roughly $12 million was allocated to totally overhaul the 45,527 sq. ft. elementary school. In the end, it would cost closer to $14 million. When the building’s façade was removed, significant problems were discovered with the building’s energy and weather envelope, requiring more structural updating than originally anticipated. This delayed student and staff occupancy a little, but resulted in a stunning, practically new building that now represents the Town of Vail on par with other municipal structures. It will also serve current and future students for decades into the future.
The library offers one of the best views of the mountains anywhere in town, and the new gym was designated the Foley Fieldhouse to honor the years of volunteer efforts by the Foley brothers, Kevin and Dennis. The combination of Red Sandstone Elementary and the parking garage is a wonderful example of what a community can do out of love for its children.
Red Sandstone Parking Garage
Vail has gained 160 new public parking spaces with completion of the Red Sandstone parking garage. The four-level structure addresses previous deficiencies at the school, including inadequate parking and the dangerous mix of cars, buses and pedestrians. As an additional benefit, the project expands the town’s public parking inventory. The new structure includes public restrooms, solar photovoltaic technology, fast-charging electric vehicle stations and a public art installation. A state-of-the-art parking locator system is being piloted to determine possible expansion to the Vail Village and Lionshead structures. During school operations, the top deck is used for the school’s on-site parking, while the remaining levels, representing 120 spaces, are available to pass-holder parking. Access to all 160 spaces are available to pass-holders during the weekends and other non-school times. Funding was made possible as a result of a three-way partnership between the town, Eagle County Schools and Vail Resorts, totaling $15 million. In looking to the future, the garage has been engineered to accommodate two additional levels as well as the ability to be repurposed for multi-uses in the event a parking structure is no longer needed. Completion of the garage brings the number of covered parking spaces in town to 2,610 and represents the first dedicated public parking to be established since 1990 when 400 spaces were built.
Public Art at Red Sandstone Parking Garage
Seventy-seven artists submitted applications for consideration of the public art element from which Seattle-based artist John Fleming was selected by Art in Public Places in May 2018. The installation Aspening of Vail represents a grove of aspen trees flanking a passageway west of the new parking garage and was installed last spring. The artist visited the school in late October 2018 for a two-day workshop for 3rd grade students to incorporate their words and renderings in the installation.