Our Campus: A Five Year Vision

UPWARD: OUR HEAD OF SCHOOL'S BLOG
Our building is at the heart of who we are. It was built to be the physical embodiment of an educational philosophy where all three divisions learn together under one roof, in a setting that feels more like a home than an institution. Among many other things, it provides a perfectly situated launchpad for adventures outside the classroom, a first home in the valley for newly transplanted faculty, and a world-class performance venue for our community. In return for the privilege of the use this building and these grounds, we must also accept the responsibility of their stewardship. As such, the third section of our 2015 Five year Vision focuses on examining, enhancing, maintaining, and expanding our existing facility in order to meet our current and future needs. 

Maintaining a newer campus such as ours, a complex, technologically advanced and finely tuned facility of almost 100,000 square feet, demands considerable expertise and commitment. Because we know that routine and unexpected maintenance demands are bound to arise, Vail Mountain School must proactively develop and implement a plan for dealing with these inevitabilities. Facilities maintenance affects the physical, educational, and financial foundation of the school and should, therefore, be a focus of both its day-to-day operations and long-range management priorities.

To that end, we conducted a facilities audit last year to determine the projected needs of our campus over the next ten years. The audit recommended the expenditure of approximately $1.1 million of upgrades and improvements between now and 2025. That includes the replacement of our artificial turf field, as well as numerous infrastructure and aesthetic enhancements such as carpeting and painting. Best practice also requires us to establish a facilities reserve fund of at least 2-3% of the replacement value of our existing buildings, approximately another $1 million, over the next five years.

In addition to the aforementioned maintenance and replacement of existing infrastructures, we are also looking forward to the needs of our 21st century learners. We intend to rethink and update spaces by redesigning age and subject appropriate collaborative classrooms, by embedding more technology engagement opportunities, and by repurposing our library into a state-of-the-art learning and collaborative media center with flexible and inviting work environments.

Lastly, our five-year vision also calls for the development of a new real estate strategy. We will explore long term options that could allow us to offer boarding opportunities for domestic and international guest students. We will build or acquire housing near campus for the head of school, a board-driven initiative that will help us continue to attract top leadership. There will also be a thorough examination of how to best utilize and leverage our existing land assets for summer camps, afterschool enrichment academies, and other community uses of our campus.

When maintaining a school, we pay not only for bricks and mortar, but also student and staff well-being. Effective school maintenance and forward thinking enhancements for 21century learning protect our capital investment, ensures the health and safety of our students, and supports educational programming and student performance.

About Vail Mountain School

Founded in 1962, Vail Mountain School is a K-12, coed, independent school in Vail, Colorado. Our philosophy is to provide a demanding, college preparatory, liberal arts education in an atmosphere of mutual respect between faculty and students, where nurturing a healthy self-concept and stimulating academic inquiry are parallel objectives. Intentionally designed cross-age programs promote role modeling, responsibility, self confidence, and a sense of community. Our location in the Rocky Mountains allows us to integrate the outdoors into the academic and cultural fabric of the school through hut trips, all-school Ski Fridays, and other experiential learning opportunities. The result: our graduates possess a quiet confidence that serves them well in college and in life—confidence to assert themselves in their first college level essays; to raise their hand in a class of hundreds; to live on their own for the first time, to meet with and engage their professors; and to lead among their peers.