Columbia Looking To Add Four New Elementary Schools

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said Tuesday that the elementary schools in the district are overcrowded and he wants to build four new elementary schools by 2016. Currently 15 of the 19 elementary schools have trailers attached.

Belcher said the district is planning to open a new elementary school in 2015 that will comfortably hold about 400 students. He said the district is also considering adding two or three additional elementary schools by 2016, if the district can get funding.

Over the past five years the school district has seen an increase of 1,500 students, pushing the total number to more than 17,000 in the school system. Last year 8,655 students were enrolled in the district's elementary schools. This year, the district thinks that number will reach 9,000.