VAIL - In an effort to keep up with a growing community, the Vail Unified School District is looking at the option of constructing a new comprehensive high school costing about $75 million.
A VUSD planning committee made up of parents, staff and community members decided last week to recommend to the governing board to build a new high school, which would require a bond election.
"We are growing at a rate of about 150 new high school students per year and at that rate, we are going to be out of high school space between two and three years from now," said John Carruth, VUSD associate superintendent.
There are currently about 4,025 enrolled high school students with only 255 spots remaining.
VUSD data estimates an increase of 770 students over the next five years with severe overcapacity issues.
The state legislature has approved $22 million for funding the high school, which doesn't cover athletic facilities, extracurricular activities or JTED courses.
Phase 1 (for 1,000 students) is estimated at $50 million in the event of a bond election.
The planning committee discussed other potential options involving Andrada Polytechnic High School.
"Expanding Andrada will only bring us about 800 more spaces for students but a new school -- a new high school will bring us at least the option of about 2,000 total," said Vail parent Cassie Sonico.
The idea of increased property taxes doesn't appeal to everyone but the idea of enhancing the educational experience and avoiding capacity problems does resonate with some parents.
"Raising property taxes doesn't sound great but then when you think about it, it's for our kids and them getting a better education," said Vail parent Andrea Price.
"I just don't see how we wouldn't want to welcome or provide those opportunities to our children," Sonico said.
The VUSD Governing Board has yet to call a bond election. Completing a new high school would take approximately three years.
"We need to be very fiscally responsible and listen to our community about what are those essential pieces that are necessary in a high school space. At the same time, an investment in a high school is an investment in this community and the future of this community," Carruth said.