Weighing High School Options
The Columbia school board has presented six options for where they want to build a new high school. The board is on its way to deciding where to build the school.
Students say they have to deal with canceled athletic practices due to lack of space. Hickman currently has 2,200 students.
Some teachers say focusing on so many students means no one gets the attention they need. One parent says having a campus closer to home is something they are looking forward to.
Even with Columbia's expected growth, Hickman's principal suggests all three high schools should be smaller than Hickman's current size for at least 10 years.
For Hickman's Principal it's not as much about location but doing what's best for the students. After 23 years in education, Mike Jeffers knows that small schools can offer students more.
"A school this size, it's easy to get lost. I think one of the advantages of smaller schools is that your staff can get more connected to the student body," said Jeffers.
He doesn't think that connection is as strong as it could be at Hickman. They can't expand on the current site because it's land-locked.
That land-lock means things are tight here at Hickman. Right now 2,200 students share the facilities. That's 500 more than Rock Bridge, which sits on a bigger piece of land. There's just no more room to expand here."
"Sometimes you've got pre-season track and volleyball. And sometimes our practices get scheduled or canceled, and it's not really fair," said Shapree Marshall Hickman Basketball Player.
And some Northeast Columbia parents think the distance to school isn't fair.
"He's 12 and I really don't want to think about him driving, but it would be nicer if they were closer. That way you wouldn't have to worry about the traffic and the drivers around here," said one parent.
The third high school would likely keep more students off of I-70 as they head to school. It would also stop the crowding at Hickman, and let Jeffers focus on other details.
Jeffers did tell KOMU all three high schools should be smaller than Hickman currently is for at least ten years.
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