Columbia elementary schools expanding

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COLUMBIA - Construction workers were out Monday afternoon working on expanding some Columbia public school buildings.

Shepard Boulevard and West Boulevard elementary schools are adding a new addition onto their buildings in order to eliminate classroom trailers as well as compensate for growing class sizes.

Columbia Public Schools Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said there is continuous growth throughout Columbia, but they have seen a particular growth of students in those areas.

In order to pay for the new construction, the school district is using money left over from a $50 million dollar bond issue that was approved by voters in 2012.

Shepard Boulevard Elementary School's principal Jacquie Ward said the new addition will allow them to get rid of 13 trailers that have become very aged.

"As far as safety is concerned having everyone in the same building and making sure everything is secure, that is really the way to go in this day and age," Ward said. "Also we want to have technology and make sure we have a good learning environment for our kids and places where our kids can grow as learners."

Ward said the new addition will also contain new furniture and technology, which is important for the kids learning. It will also contain a second computer lab which she said is important with the increase in the number of kids at Shepard.

"We want to make sure our school has the best learning environment it can," Ward said. "This new addition will be a place where our kids can grow as learners."

Shepard Boulevard Elementary School is also building a new playground, which the students were able to help design and select some of the playground equipment.

The new building and playground will be move-in ready in December.