Glenwood Springs Middle School uses professional development day to help build houses in Rifle |

Glenwood Springs Middle School uses professional development day to help build houses in Rifle

Language arts and social studies teacher Cassandra Irving operates a power tool while volunteering at the Wapiti Commons project in Rifle on Monday.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

Glenwood Springs Middle School staff members spent their professional development day on Monday with their hard hats and tool belts on.

What has become a recurring effort, a group of Glenwood Springs Middle School teachers found themselves at the Habitat for Humanity Wapiti Commons project in Rifle on Monday, getting their hands dirty by helping build a set of townhomes and condominiums that are to be available within the coming months.

As one group of 15 staff members found themselves at the construction site, another group of 10 middle-school employees made their way to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Glenwood Springs to assist in sorting the warehouse, moving furniture and helping clean up the area.

An opportunity to get out and assist the community, Glenwood Middle School Assistant Principal Rob Biurgy sees the day as an opportunity to learn more about his fellow staff members.

Language arts teacher Whitney Thurston carries out a pile of wood panels.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

“It’s a fun day to be working in a different environment while also giving back to the community,” Buirgy said. “It gives us a chance to learn more about each other and learn new strengths about your co-workers that you may not otherwise learn being in a school environment.”

This is the school’s fourth year helping out Habitat For Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley. He’s confident the school will continue to volunteer for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve seen all sorts of benefits come out of this day the past few years both with the staff and the community as a whole,” he said. “Housing is such a big deal, too, so the fact that we are able to help out with that is pretty awesome.”

With Crew classes, which were implemented during the 2015-16 school year to help students build and maintain a positive school culture and community, set to participate in community projects in a couple weeks, Buirgy said he firmly believes in the importance of making sure student and teacher values are aligned.

“It’s important that we show the kids that taking action in the community isn’t something we only preach to them but also something that we take part in and value as well,” he said.

Building more than 60 homes across the Roaring Fork Valley throughout the past 20 years, Habitat for Humanity and their affiliates continue to stress the importance of affordable housing in Garfield County. 

Student teacher Trevor Doty operates heavy machinery at the Wapiti Commons project on Monday.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

Habitat for Humanity Director of Homeowner Services Carolyn Meadowcroft said plans are in place to next build housing in Glenwood Springs.

“We are shooting for the fall to have a groundbreaking for our Glenwood location,” she said. 

Along with the Glenwood location homes, which will be located on Eighth Street and Midland Avenue, she said there will be a “name the neighborhood” project where people will be able to enter a contest to name the forthcoming project. 

Acquiring the land through a donation from the city, she said Habitat for Humanity is working on a list of grants to help funding for the Glenwood residences. 

Construction on the Wapiti Commons townhomes and condominiums in Rifle is set to be finished in the spring of 2024, yet homeowners will have the opportunity to move in as soon as construction is completed on each building. The Glenwood townhomes are projected to be completed by the fall of 2024.

Post Independent reporter Taylor Cramer can be reached at 970-384-9108 or

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