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When the shovels turn the first spades of dirt on the new Buena Vista Schools construction project at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, it will be only the next step in the long process to improve the school district’s educational structures. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, marking the beginning of the construction work on a new high school and middle school. It will take place at the school’s current high school, located at 559 S. Railroad St., Buena Vista, in front of the Industrial Arts Building.

The Buena Vista School District has waited and worked for this ground-breaking infrastructure improvement for some time. The saga began long before 2017 when the community finally approved $29.5 million toward the construction projects.

The groundbreaking begins what could well be the largest construction project ever built in Chaffee County. When completed, the construction project is expected to total $41.5 million in construction; creating new middle and high school wings, and including renovations to existing buildings.

According to Lisa Yates, the superintendent of the Buena Vista School District, the project would not happen at all, if it were not for the contributions of a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant from the State of Colorado. The Town of Buena Vista approved a $29.5 million bond measure with the understanding that the Buena Vista School District would pursue a matching BEST grant. The state approved Buena Vista for approximately $20 million, resulting in a 58 to 42 percent split of construction costs between the town and the State of Colorado.

The construction will include new two-story academic wings for both the middle school and the high school, a new middle school gymnasium, and renovations to the existing high school gymnasium. Construction is expected to be complete by the fall of 2020.

Buena Vista Schools Set for $41.5 million Construction Project