Mountain Campus History
Sparked by a vision in the early 1970s and the generous support of the Class of 1969, the Fountain Valley School Mountain Campus has been a haven for students and faculty for 35 years.
In the early 70s, believing that a school in Colorado needed mountain land to call its own, former trustee and associate headmaster John Raushenbush wandered around the Arkansas River Valley looking for a piece of land on which to build a retreat. With the help of former Director of Admission Mike Cronk, he found the 40 acres near Buena Vista, Colo., at a price of $800 per acre. Raushenbush, Robert O. Anderson and son Phelps '69 rallied the troops, most especially members of the Class of 1969, to raise the needed money. Bill Bacon, father of Hoyt '69, William '62, Knight '73 and Christopher '75, paid for the well so the campus could have water.
After the land was purchased, the next step was to build the cabin. Across one entire spring season, about a dozen students from the classes of 1976 and '77 worked weekends with faculty and the foreman to assemble the building. In 1979, FVS faculty Bill Thayer took on the chore of squaring the logs in preparation for the installation of windows and chinking. The first time he and his wife stayed overnight, the basement section was still unfinished and open to the great outdoors. They settled down on the floor and went to sleep. A few hours later, they were awakened in the dark by a bunch of cows which had wandered in to investigate this strange new structure!
Also in 1979, Thayer, Robert Pippenger '83 and Greg Taylor began insulating the basement. At their 10th reunion in 1979, the Class of 1969 trooped en masse to the Mountain Campus where they gathered an impressive pile of rocks, poured a concrete base to hold the rocks and set up a flagpole. A deck around two sides of the building was added in 1982. During senior seminar in 1991, students built the deck on the south side of the cabin.
In the spring of 1982, 29 participants tackled a 115-mile run in order to raise funds for a large deck around the main Mountain Campus building. Beginning at 6 a.m. on a Saturday, three teams of runners took off from the FVS crossroads for their long journey.
The runners crossed the city, headed up Route 24 to Woodland Park, to Divide, then across Wilkerson Pass and the long stretch of South Park, to the junction with the Salida road, then on to the Mountain Campus. The last runner made it to the Mountain Campus at 2:45 p.m., and the teams raised $5,000.
Another run was held in 1983, and a group of cyclists raised money in 1985 by making the trek on two wheels.