Columbia Schools Receive Donation
The announcement came just three months before local residents are set to vote on a bond issue for a new elementary and high school.
Located at the intersection of New Haven Road and Rangeline Road, the donated property will help the school district accomodate Columbia's rapid growth.
Just down the road, New Haven Elementary is one of the few schools not considered overcrowded in a district that added 400 new students this year. Despite the current situation, Principal Cindy Giovanini knows Columbia is growing east toward New Haven.
"We also have some new developments coming, WW, that will impact New Haven's attendence center. So, within a few years we could be the school that's overcrowded," Giovanini said.
Depending on the outcome of the April bond issue vote, a school could be built on the newly acquired land. But if the bond issue passes, a new school won't be the district's only change.
Right now the Columbia School District is divided into kindergarten or pre-kindergarten through fifth grade at the elementaries, sixth and seventh grade at the middle schools, eighth and ninth grade at the junior highs, and tenth through twelfth at the high schools. The bond issue would reorganize, combining junior and senior high schools. Students would only attend three schools instead of four.
"With the two high schools that we have and our one alternative high school, we do not have that capacity to hold that ninth grade class. If we had three high schools we could move to that make up of our high schools," Assistant Superintendent Lynn Barnett said.
The change would also move the eighth graders to the middle schools. If the bond issue passes in April, it would still take 2 to 3 years for development and construction before the new schools opened.