The Columbia School District has narrowed down three final sites to build a new elementary school in southwest Columbia. Parents and elementary school principals got a first look at those sites Saturday on a bus tour.The three final sites are on 30+ acre lands: – Scott Boulevard and Route KK – 34 acres- Route K and Old Plank Road – 36 acres- Route K and Highpoint Lane – 30 acres The school district is trying to secure a contract as early as spring and begin construction this year, according to the district’s superintendent, Dr. Chris Belcher. One of the main reason for a new elementary is overcrowding. Two elementary schools in the southwest quadrant of Columbia have reached capacity, and have added trailers to accommodate the growing student population. “At Rock Bridge (elementary) we are seeing our numbers go up for class sizes and we really don’t have any extra class rooms available at this point,” said the school’s principal, Mary Korth-Lloyd, as she surveyed the land at the Scott Blvd. location. But first, the school board has to decide on where to build the new school, and it’s going to depend on accessibility and how much it’s going to cost, and other factors, said Belcher. He said they have spent nine months surveying 14 potential places, and these are the finalists. There’s still a lot of work ahead, such as looking into sewer lines, zoning, and flood plain, according to Belcher. But whichever site they decide to build on, they will need it to account for student population growth for the next ten years. The new school is set to open in 2016, and built with money from last April’s bond issue. Currently, CPS is in the process of designing another elementary school — set to open in 2015 in northeast Columbia adjacent to Battle High School.
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