CPS progresses to eliminate trailers at schools in the district

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COLUMBIA - "Displacement of trailers with brick and mortar" is how the Columbia Board of Education describes its goal for the future of all Columbia Public School classrooms. CPS is continuing to push forward to eliminate trailers around the entire district. 

When the vision started in 2006, there were 174 trailers spread around schools in the district. As of today, there are 101. 

CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said the problem is still simply space. 

"As the school district continues to grow, the only way to do this is to build schools and build additions on to existing schools when possible," Baumstark said.

So far, CPS completed construction on three schools: Battle High School, Battle Elementary School and Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School.

There are five other schools waiting for their turn next. A new school in east Columbia, Beulah Ralph Elementary School, Shepard Boulevard Elementary School, West Boulevard Elementary School, and a new Early Childhood Learning Center. 

Baumstark said CPS is currently finalizing the land purchasing process for a new elementary school in east Columbia scheduled to open in 2018.

Beulah Ralph has less than one year until its completion date of August 2016. West Boulevard and Shepard Boulevard Elementary Schools will see additions to the buildings completed by winter 2015. 

According to CPS's schedule, by this winter West and Shepard will have additions added on to the buildings to accommodate the loss of space from the trailer elimination.

The principal at Shepard Boulevard Elementary School said she's happy for the progress in the trailer removal, because she will feel more comfortable about the safety of the kids. 

They have 12 trailers total right now. 

Baumstark said by 2018 they plan to have the trailer count down to 67. The committee in charge of the process continues to meet to mandate the progress.

"The long-range facilities planning committee meets regularly to stay on top of our progress and continue to develop the next steps for keeping our promise to our community to eliminate trailers, maintain class sizes and provide an excellent education for all students," Baumstark said.

Workers have already started construction on an early childhood learning center. It will be ready for little learners in 2017.

The location for the school is right between Lange Middle school and Lange park, off Smiley Lane.

One Columbia resident just moved to town four months ago and said he's pleased with the progress. 

"I think it's great, you know. In my opinion Columbia's always been a city of progression. And, I think when it comes to education it's definitely the best thing we can do for our kids." John Anderson said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the learning center is Monday, Sept. 28 at 4:15 p.m.

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