CPS Announces Timeframe for Battle High Bonds

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School District announced Wednesday it will start to sell more than a third of the $120 million in bonds it needs to build Battle High School and remodel existing buildings in June. Columbia passed the bond issue a year ago Wednesday. The district estimates $30 million of the $42.5 million it tries to obtain will go towards the new high school. The district will also sell $9.5 million in bonds for renovations to the Hickman and Rock Bridge gymnasiums. Another $3 million worth of bonds will go towards technology improvements throughout the district. Construction companies working on the new school will be paid out of the $30 million in bonds the district issues in June.

"We're making a promise to the bond holder that you give us that money today, we're going to pay off that money over the next 20 years," CPS Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said.

D&H Steel Erectors is putting up the steel and concrete slabs for the building. They worked on putting steel on what will be the gymnasium ceiling Wednesday. Last week they put the concrete slabs on the outside of the building.

"Major safety's [involved]. If something were to give way, that's...80,000 pounds coming down," D&H worker Ryan Skaggs said.

The company's helping make a building that teachers in the district thought was needed. The district even knows another elementary school has to be built after crews finish the high school.

"Our elementary student population is growing leaps and bounds," Alpha Hart Lewis teacher Susan McClintic said. "We're having a difficult time in some areas to even house the children that are there at this point."

The next time the district asks for more money will be May or June of 2012. Quinley says the district will be issuing about $33 million in bonds then. It will ask for even more bond money in February of 2014.