Questions remain after the purchase of land for a new middle school

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education decided to purchase new land Monday to construct a new middle school, but it is unsure of which elementary schools will move up to this school. 

The land is on the south side of Columbia on Sinclair road near Mill Creek Elementary. 

Board members said they believe this school will be important to have because of the population growth in the south side of Columbia. 

"Five out of the six middle schools currently are on Worley Street or North. So this was really important to build the school on the south of town because that is where most of our growth is at this time. Over the next 10 years we are going to see 30 percent growth in that area according to our demographic study. So, a school south of town is very important," said Superintendent Peter Stiepleman. 

According to Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark, CPS hopes to inform the community about the boundary lines for the school within the next year. 

The board of education will purchase the land from the University of Missouri for $2,898,000 using funds from the 2016 voter-approved bond issue. 

Father and homeowner Ross Heller said he believes the city is using this as a quick fix and is putting in money that it doesn't have. 

"When the manager of the city of Columbia basically says we're in trouble and the University of Missouri says we're in trouble, we're not having enough people coming here," Heller said.

"Then the school board says we're spending a lot of money to build things, then that's incongruous. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'd like a better analysis of how this is all going to work."

The actual construction of the school would require another bond issue to to fund it. It is expected to open in 2020. 

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