Cedar Ridge Elementary School will host a dedication ceremony from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to honor the newest building to Columbia Public Schools.
According to Columbia Public Schools’ website, Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting will come before faculty and teachers provide an open-house tour at the new building, during which people can purchase school gear, enjoy dinner from a food truck and have an opportunity to join the family teacher organization.
Angie Chandler, principal of Cedar Ridge Elementary School, said in building the new school they decided to open up its doors to the community and show all the work that has been completed.
“All the teachers got into their classroom and have been able to get their classrooms all set up and ready for next (school) year,” Chandler said.
The new Cedar Ridge Elementary School, located at 2345 Howell Mountain Drive, will replace the previous building on Roseta Avenue.
According to Michelle Baumstark, community relations director with Columbia Schools, the old building will be used for other needs in the district.
The reason for the new building, Chandler said, was crowding issues. “Sometimes we had more kids out in (the) trailer than we did inside in the building,” Chandler said.
The new building will now increase the enrollment capacity for students in the area. The enrollment size went from 180 students to a maximum of 650 students.
Chandler said they will not open at 650, but they will open up at 400 students in the new school.
Cedar Ridge has increased its classroom size from two teachers to three teachers per grade, kindergarten through fifth grade.
“Just to keep it manageable, we only went up one. We are serving some districtwide classrooms for special education now for autism, so that brings in some more teachers as well,” Chandler said.
Construction of the new building took place in 2016 and was funded by the 2014 voter-approved bond.
“The total project cost is $22 million, which includes land, construction and furniture and fixtures for the building,” Baumstark said.
Charles Oestreich , facilities construction director for CPS said he plans to eliminate all trailers throughout the district.
” Three or four years ago we were at 173 (trailers), at the end of this summer will be down to 47, says a lot to the community that supported our bonds and the money will be spent wisely,” Oestreich said.
Chandler said Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting and open house is a big thank you to the community for all its support to build the new school and for the kids to stay inside and safe.
“Now we’re all safe and sound in the building, and it just feels really good to show that off to the community. I think everybody has worked so hard; we’re ready for the kids now,” Chandler said.
School starts at Cedar Ridge Elementary School Aug. 14.