Detour: Local Road Construction Impacts Getting To and From Eagle Rock

The town of Estes Park has just begun a five-month project that is expected to renovate Dry Gulch Road, the route that leads to Notaiah Road and the start of Eagle Rock’s expansive mountainside grounds. This important capital improvement project is ranked No. 1 on the town’s roadway program and is the first to be funded for work in 2016.

And while this reconstruction and rehabilitation project is good news for those of us who commute to campus for work or leave school to visit downtown Estes Park, the construction work will certainly put a damper on our transportation habits. In fact, beginning now and running through the end of August, students, staff and visitors alike will be taking a seven-mile detour to get to Eagle Rock’s entrance at Notaiah Road.

Eagle Rock Detor Map 2016

The reconstruction of Dry Gulch Road is taking shape in two separate phases, with the first phase already underway with a road closure from U.S. 34 north to Stone Gate Drive. This full closure — as well as the one planned in Phase 2 — enables work to be done in significantly less time than it would take by closing alternate lanes. No firm date has been established for the beginning of the second phase of roadwork.

For the past three years, Estes Park has been planning for this $3.93-million project, which includes Continue reading…

News From the Rock — October 2014

Things are off to a great start this trimester here at Eagle Rock! How great a start, you ask? For one thing, our eight new staff and 10 new Public Allies Fellows hit the deck running — right alongside our dedicated veteran staff.

On Wednesday, students Chemi, Cha’Asia, Barbara, Faith, German, Nigel, Myles, Elias, Cortez, Ella, Stacy, Bethzaida, Alysha, Ember, Miriam and Katie-Lynn completed our new student wilderness orientation course in the Gila Wilderness in N.M. They wrapped up the trip by running five miles back to campus where a raucous crowd of family, friends, staff, faculty, students and Eagle Rock board members greeted them.

Add to all this the fact that classes are now in full swing, the weather’s just amazing, and the food — as per usual — is delicious! Life at Eagle Rock is good. But I digress.

We often opine on in our blog posts about the deep learning, inspiring graduates and fine work we’re doing around the country to improve our nation’s schools. But not a bit of this would be possible without a premier, top-of-the-line facility and operations staff that keep it humming along.

The focus of this particular post is to give you a glimpse into recent projects we’ve been working on. But first, some fun facts about our property:

  • Eagle Rock School sits on 640 acres, about 500 of which can’t be developed under an agreement with the Estes Valley Land Trust.
  • The remaining “development zone” is made up of 26 buildings — including a half-dozen student houses (Piñon, Juniper, Lodgepole, Aspen, Spruce, and Ponderosa).
  • There’s Willow house, which houses our 12 Public Allies Fellows, six stand-along staff houses, a library and classroom building, art/woodshop building, science and math building, the Schoolhouse (music building), and a human performance center (home to a full basketball court, competitive swimming pool, climbing wall, an aikido dojo and exercise room).

Check out one of our most recent blog posts — Take A Tour Of The Eagle Rock Campus —for more information on our buildings. We are blessed with the support of the American Honda Motor Co. in maintaining these facilities and are pleased to share with you a few major projects that we have either recently completed or are well on the way to completing.

Newly Paved Road

If you’ve visited campus, you know that our driveway is a more than a mile long and is subject year-in and year-out to the harsh Colorado weather. In September, we chip sealed the road and it is looking beautiful. The Monday and Friday gate runs are much smoother now!







Flood Repair 

In September of last year, we experienced what was described as a thousand-year flood. Just our luck! Fortunately we didn’t experience catastrophic damage, although as we’ve told you before we didn’t escape unscathed (see: The Mop-up Continues — as Does a Flood of Emotion). The dirt service road and our emergency exit road out the backside of our property were washed out. Our Professional Development Center’s crawlspace flooded and after giving it an intense blow dry, we installed a vapor barrier to mitigate future moisture issues.

Service Road





After Continue reading…

News From The Rock

Greetings from Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center! While we’re currently well into our fourth week of ER 62, I’d like to take a look back at ER 61, our fall trimester that began the end of last August.

We kicked things off by welcoming a dozen new Public Allies teaching fellows to our campus, and a week later, we welcomed some rain. It was on a Monday, and we were all a bit giddy about the change in weather because, whenever it rains in Colorado, we feel blessed.

By that Wednesday, news reports promised we’d have at least a shot at receiving the average annual moisture total for the year, and that’s absolutely great news for a normally dry state.

True to the weather predictions, the rain kept coming. By Friday, Sept. 13, things began to turn weird. Wet and weird. Canyons were washed out. Estes Park was isolated. The Safeway market aisles were depleted. There was no gasoline in town. The public utilities were intermittent at best. We were in the midst of a 1,000-year rain and a 100-year flood. That, my friends, is how last trimester started for those of us who live or work here at Eagle Rock.

Somehow we made it through this damp deluge, and it was due in huge part to a lot of hard work on everybody’s part. And please believe me when I say that for some staff members, tremendous sacrifice was involved. Looking back, I have to say it was worth it. It was well worth it.

Eagle Rock students help with 2013 flood recovery efforts in Estes Park, Colo.
Eagle Rock students help with 2013 flood recovery efforts in Estes Park, Colo.

Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” 

That quote exemplifies our staff members who live off campus and were highly impacted by the flood. Our accountant Denise Dunn; chefs Ed Perry, Mark Dougherty, Jay Halladay, and Thad Quesada; math instructor Karen Ikegami; visual arts instructor Cindy Elkins; Public Allies Program Director Mark Palmer; Professional Development Center associate director Dan Condon; and operations staff Linda Bieker, Terry and Kerri Tierney and Patricia Jobst; all went way beyond the call of duty with a simple commute to work that became a daunting daily undertaking.

The flood affected all of us. Yet not one soul missed a beat in his or her commitment and dedication to our mission. There’s no way we could have served students without them.

That mission remains one of re-engaging young people in their education. And while the flood presented “challenges” on campus — to say the least — our work across the country continued without missing a beat. Staff members traveled to Continue reading…

2013 Colorado Flood Update: We’re Asking Everybody to Step Up to the Plate

Editor’s Note: It’s a bad use of an idiom, but we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to the devastating flooding that visited our area of Colorado like an unpopular substitute teacher this past month. But just as Eagle Rock is now a designated National School of Character, we’re going to have the opportunity to prove we earned that honor this coming semester. Here’s an update of Jeff Liddle’s latest email to parents, sponsors and students.

By Jeff Liddle, Head of School

Earlier today, we sent out a memo by email to parents, sponsors and students in an attempt to bring everybody up to date on the recent flooding in Colorado and how we intend to conduct business this trimester. For starters, we’ve arrived at a start date for this trimester and that date is Sunday, Sept. 29th for veteran students. The trimester will end on Saturday, Dec. 14th to ensure we have time to fit in the normal amount of credit.

Our email message to students, parents and sponsors outlines flights, carpooling options, and other logistical issues, but what I want to discuss with you here is what our students can expect from us when they walk back on campus later this month, and what we expect from them.

First off, our campus is in fine shape. Not so for the town of Estes Park and everything else down the canyons. Fact is, by sometime next month, there will only be one route  in and out of town, and that’s Highways 7-119-70. And while that route is  in good shape, the commute to and from Denver International Airport is about three hours. Other roads will eventually open, but we don’t have a solid indication yet as to when those events will occur.

The good news is the utilities are consistent and they are on. The gas, water, electricity, sewage, Internet, and phones are all working. Also working are the merchants in town, including those at the Safeway market, gas stations, coffee shops, the library, and many local shops. And we are getting food deliveries to campus with no problem.

However, access in and out of Estes Park remains a problem. That means medical and mental health services that we typically get in the valley will be difficult to access. Check with us if you have a concern about such facilities. Also, there’s no easy access to the towns of Continue reading…

2013 Colorado Flood Update: The Mop-up Continues — as Does a Flood of Emotion

Editor’s Note: The recent flooding in Colorado has been debilitating to much of Estes Park, including the roads in and out of town. This is an update to Jeff Liddle’s email to Eagle Rock School parents and students about the status of the clean-up and Eagle Rock’s plans for the start of school.

By Jeff Liddle, Head of School

Hey Eagle Rockers! Estes Park is drying out and mopping up!! I attended the town meeting Tuesday for an update on the state of affairs, and apparently there’s been $100,000,000 worth of infrastructure damage to public works (roads, utilities, etc.) in Estes Park alone.

There are some heavily damaged areas within town that will be offline for months — but these areas don’t directly affect Eagle Rock. The Colorado Department of Transportation has reallocated resources to the Boulder/Fort Collins/Estes Park area and the top priority is to open up routes to Estes Park.

Despite the challenges, I’m happy to report that there was a noticeable sense of optimism during the town meeting. What I found particularly moving were the stories of residents coming together and working around the clock to patch this town back together. I’m typically not the first guy in the room to get all teary eyed, but for the last few days I’ve been choking back a lot of emotion.

I cannot express how grateful I am for all the first responders, public officials, and community members who are working to reopen Estes Park as soon as possible. Their work, in turn will also make it possible for Eagle Rock to reopen its doors.

On campus, we have been busy adjusting schedules, planning classes, participating in professional development and volunteering as part of the recovery effort. We’ve managed to fill our two additional weeks with plenty of work. Today is the first day we’ll have the majority of staff back on campus. Being reunited with everyone will surely be emotional. We have not seen each other since the flood washed out the canyons and created a lot of distance between our homes. It will be good to be together.

In my last update, I mentioned that we would not start school any earlier than September 28. I still don’t have a definitive start date, but I can report that we are progressing in a very positive direction and I hope to set a date by the end of this week.

We’re all anxious to get students back on campus just as soon as all the pieces fit together. Once again, thank you for all your kind and supportive thoughts.  Look for the next update on Friday.

– Jeff Liddle, Head of School