Roaring Fork Schools board set to make land buy in midvalley |

Roaring Fork Schools board set to make land buy in midvalley

Tatiana Flowers

Roaring Fork School District school board members Wednesday are expected to approve an investment in eight acres of land, which could provide the space for a new school in El Jebel’s Blue Lake neighborhood.

The school district already owns seven acres of land in Blue Lakes Park, which currently comprises basketball and volleyball courts as well as soccer fields, according to Jeff Gatlin, chief operations officer for Roaring Fork Schools.

The additional 8.6 acres of land, if the $1.58 million purchase is approved at a school board meeting Wednesday, would lie adjacent to those recreational sports fields, providing the extra space for a new school that could serve the more than 300 students already living in the area, Gatlin said.

“We have all the paperwork, and we’re making the transaction,” Gatlin said, adding the board’s approval was a formality at this point.

The new, unnamed school would alleviate overcrowding in some of the schools in the Basalt and Carbondale areas in the future. Whether that’s an elementary, middle or high school, or some combination, would need to be determined at that time.

According to the Roaring Fork school district’s website, the potential new school would help compensate for any additional future growth in the Basalt and El Jebel area.

“We haven’t decided to build a new school at this point,” said Kelsy Been, public information officer for the school district. “We are just securing land so when capacity in our Basalt schools warrant a new school, we’re ready.”

The funding needed for this latest land purchase came after taxpayers in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale,and Basalt voted to approve a $122 million bond issue to improve the local school system. In the past year, the district completed the new $34 million K-8 Riverview School near Glenwood Springs, and an extensive, $29 million addition and remodel at Glenwood Springs Elementary School.

The 2015 initiative funded a variety of different projects, including affordable housing for Roaring Fork teachers, additional security at school entrances, and a new bus facility. More at

The expanded Blue Lake school site is one of the last tasks on the bond issue list, Been said, adding, “It wasn’t a priority to secure this land because we knew it could be done at any time,” she said. “It’s been part of the plan for several years now.”

For the school to be built, voters would likely have to approve another, separate bond issue to secure funding.

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