School Board Chooses Builder for New Elementary School

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School Board voted unanimously Monday night to hire K&S construction company from St. Louis to build a new elementary school near Battle High School.

The new school will be the 21st elementary school in Columbia and is the first in a plan to build four new schools in Columbia in the next decade. The district hopes these additions will eliminate overcrowding in existing schools.

K&S came in with a price of $13,537,500 to build the new school. Construction will begin this month, and is expected to be ready for new students starting in August of 2015. The school will be located behind Battle High School's softball field.

Some residents said traffic has become a problem since Battle opened this school year, and they worry another school will make it worse.

Columbia Public Schools has worked with MoDOT to make road improvements to ease traffic congestion in the area by building roundabouts and new roads.

However, Jim Groves, a resident of St. Charles Road, which runs in front of Battle High School, says these efforts haven't seemed to help.

"When I go to work, I try to leave before school and try to get home either before or after they come out because it's just almost impossible to get out when the students are coming," said Groves.

Groves says with another new school, the traffic flow will depend on the entrance to the school itself.

"I think a lot of it depends on where they have the entrance to the school," said Groves. "If it'll have the same entrance as the high school does or if they go up further up to Mexico Gravel up further north and coming that way it'll be a help. But if they are going to use the same entrance as they have now it's going to really increase the school bus traffic because there's a lot more."