Columbia Picks New School Site
The site is east of Columbia on South Rangeline and New Haven Roads. It will be the city's third high school by 2010 if everything goes as planned.
The Board of Education approved the use of the land at its meeting Thursday morning. The motion to build a new Columbia high school passed unanimously, but was met with some opposition because some think the east side of town is the wrong place.
"I think they would rather accept this site that visibly looks attractive and go with that rather than work hard to find a site in the north part of the district," future neighbor John McCormick said.
The board says the location meets all the needs for a new high school.
"It's out of town a little bit and our community is growing every which direction and it will help us reduce the size of our current high schools as we increase in population," Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Barnett said.
Others who oppose the location say saftey is a concern. Others think 2010 is too soon.
"The board members are being protected from dealing with all these issues by being told they need to meet a timeline," McCormick said.
Despite the criticism, board members say they are excited about the chosen location.
"We hope they will continue to work with us, share and stay in communication because we want the neighbors to be happy," Barnett said.
One other concern was that the water in the area has a barely acceptable radioactivity count, and that the school's use might push it over the safety limit. The site is 80 acres in all and cost the district $500,000.