CPS dedicates Eliot Battle Elementary School

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools teachers and administrators gathered Friday evening to honor a longtime teacher, and to admire the city's 20th elementary school.

The new school, Eliot Battle Elementary, is named for Dr. Eliot Franklin Battle, a Columbia educator and husband of Muriel Battle, the high school's namesake. Battle started working in the school district in 1956 and retired in 1991. Dr. Battle passed away in June 2013.

Superintendent Peter Stiepleman thanked Dr. Battle's son, Eliot Jr., and his family for their support. 

"It's been a really exciting adventure to come in and watch the progress in the building as we've come into the construction phase," Principal Jeri Petre said. 

Petre said the school will employ around 45 certified and non-certified staff members. 

As people walked around the new school for the first time, Petre couldn't contain her excitement about the upcoming school year.

"We can't wait for the fall," Petre said. "We can't wait to take an opportunity to bring the cultures and the traditions of the other schools and build one of our own."

The enrollment is currently around 380 students, but according to a school statement the building has capacity to house between 400 and 450 students. 

"It's just one part of our ten-year growth plan," Michelle Baumstark, the community relations director for Columbia Public Schools, said. 

Crews broke ground on the school, which cost around 13.5 million dollars, in October 2013.

According to a statement from the school, the 30-acre site has additional space to accommodate more 200 more students. 

"The design of this school is the master design that will be used for construction of two other schools in Columbia," Columbia Board of Education President Jim Whitt said. 

The school will open its doors to students this August.