Final push to move into renovated GSES building
Glenwood Springs Elementary School students will get an extra couple of days off for winter break this week while teachers and staff make the final move into the newly renovated old school building.
All other Roaring Fork District schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt are set to resume on Thursday.
However, due to the previously scheduled construction schedule and move into the overhauled 1921 historic north wing of the GSES facility in downtown Glenwood, there will be no school there until Monday.
Since the start of the school year in September when the new south wing opened, some GSES teachers and staff have worked out of temporary quarters while renovation of the old section was underway.
“The staff has exhibited immense patience throughout the construction process, and has tackled the challenge of moving their classes and the entire school three times with grace and humor,” Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein said.
GSES has been under construction since the summer of 2016, part of the district’s $122 million bond issue. During the first year of construction, school was held in the old main building and temporary modular classrooms, while the new academic wing was being constructed.
Last summer, work began to renovate the old main building. This school year, students moved into the new academic wing while work continued at old main.
Principal Audrey Hazleton said between 15 and 20 teachers have not had a regular classroom to work out of during that entire time.
“The whole community has been supportive through this,” she said. “Parents have been flexible, and teachers just continue to do a great job with students with constant change over last year and a half.”
The newly renovated section will house the second-grade classrooms on the first floor and fifth grade on the second floor. It also will house the language, music, arts, several small group study rooms, teacher work rooms, a revamped gymnasium and eventually the new cafeteria. The cafeteria is not scheduled to open until after spring break in April.
There will be a grand opening for the fully completed school facility on May 3.
Parents have known about the late return to school after winter break since the beginning of the school year, Hazleton said.
“The construction crews needed all of the break to be in there and finish the building,” she said. “With the short week already, we just decided to take two extra days.”
The school has been working with the Glenwood Springs Community Center to provide some additional days of its School’s Out programs for a reduced rate. Child care is also being provided for teachers and staff whose children attend GSES while they are busy making the move, Hazleton said.
In addition to the building, the new bus loop on the north side of the school campus will be open and there will be access to all of the playgrounds. Lunch will continue to be served in the library space until the new cafeteria is ready.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.