Columbia school board approves bond to fund new elementary school

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COLUMBIA — The Columbia Board of Education approved a bond sale Monday night which would be used to build a new elementary school.

The bond is worth $35 million.

KOMU 8 previously reported the new elementary school will be near Columbia Gorge Parkway and Rolling Hills Road, in the Vineyards neighborhood.

The total cost of the elementary school is estimated at $28 million. The project will be financed by a $50 million bond issue that voters approved in April 2014.

The land cost a total of $832,000. Site development is expected to cost $1.8 million.

The new school is designed to address crowding in the district, especially at Cedar Ridge Elementary School. The new school will replace Cedar Ridge, which has houses more than 200 students along with seven trailers.

The school board discussed adding onto Cedar Ridge, but estimated that would be more expensive than building a new school. The new building is expected to have room for 650 students. 

"We're growing in all directions in Columbia, and we're trying to work as quickly as we can to meet the growing demand of our community and our community's students," CPD Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said in a previous interview.

The design of the new school will imitate Eliot Battle Elementary School in northeast Columbia and the Beulah Ralph Elementary School, which is under construction in southwest Columbia. The newest project also will include connecting roads because the property is set back in a relatively undeveloped area.

The new school is projected to open in 2018.