Red Feather Ridge: It’s just not worth it |

Red Feather Ridge: It’s just not worth it

Fred Wall

Editor’s Note: The following is the second of three guest columns written by members of the Glenwood Springs Ad Hoc Airport Committee. The group was charged with envisioning future uses for the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport. Three ideas resulted: leaving the airport open, using the land for affordable housing and a park, or using the land for a new high school.The Glenwood Springs City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposals at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Glenwood Springs City Hall.By Fred WallAn alternative use for the Glenwood Springs Airport is as a future site for Glenwood Springs High School. GSHS is currently on a 14-acre site and has had numerous additions since its original construction in 1953. There have been five major renovations. Due to its limited size, there is no space for a soccer field, baseball field, or tennis courts on the facilities located on the site.The Board of Education commissioned a capacity study of all of the school buildings as well as a demographic study to forecast future enrollment projections. GSHS has an optimum capacity of 805 students and a maximum capacity of 1,059. Using projections based on the demographic study and adjusting for this year’s (2002-03) decrease in enrollment, optimum capacity will be exceeded in year 2005 or 2006.Both studies expressed a concern regarding the inadequate size of the present campus of GSHS for future development. This was also mentioned as a concern by the professional who conducted an earlier master plan in 1993. A second concern is that any financial resources expended to modernize GSHS to current educational specifications might be cost prohibitive. The American Institute of Architecture guidelines for school sites suggests an appropriate site size for a high school of 1,000 students as a minimum of 40 acres. The availability of a parcel of land large enough to accommodate a new future high school within the city limits is limited. Therefore, the Board of Education has found it is necessary to begin looking for sites outside the city limits. At a joint meeting of the Glenwood Springs City Council and Board of Education, the City Council expressed its desire that any new site for the high school site be located within the city limits.It has been an ongoing concern of the school district that there be an assertive collaboration between both groups to provide for future school sites as planning moves forward into the future. The possibility of the airport site was then raised as an alternative by City Council members. Several reasons that this site would be beneficial for a future high school are:-This flat piece of land meets the requirements for a high school site within the city limits.-The site is located in a growing residential area where children can walk to school. -The requirements of play fields and opens spaces are compatible to the surrounding neighborhoods.-The careful redevelopment of the current 14 1/2 acre high school site in the middle of our community has the potential to become a huge economic engine for Glenwood Springs in the future. There are creative solutions to land use that need to be explored that go beyond the airport property. The airport property is a hinge that can provide benefits for Glenwood Springs in the future.

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