Overcrowded Classroom Reason for New Elementary

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public School officials said Monday that overcrowded classrooms, trailer classrooms and high enrollment numbers are the main reasons for the addition of a new elementary school. The district currently has more than 18,000 students enrolled at all levels. The district is also the ninth largest in the state. 

With the addition of the new elementary school, CPS will have a total of 20 elementary schools. Michelle Baumstark, community relations coordinator for Columbia Public School, said the district needs to build at least five more. She said that having the flexibility to spread the students out amongst another school will help increase classroom safety and make for a better learning environment. CPS will draw a new district map, pulling kids from several elementary schools in the district, to create the enrollment for the new school. 

Robert Picking has two children, one enrolled in the first grade at Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School and one who will be in kindergarten next year. While he is worried that his children might have to start over at a new school in 2015, he feels that the new school will give his children more one-on-one time with their teachers.

The new elementary school will be built on the property next to where the new Battle High School is being built off of St. Charles Road. The school is expected to open for the 2015-2016 school year.