Construction for new elementary school on schedule despite rain delays

Monday, August 25, 2008 | 6:46 p.m. CDT; updated 9:06 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 31, 2008

COLUMBIA — While heavy rain has temporarily hampered construction of the new elementary school at Waco and Brown Station roads, school officials say it hasn't put a long-term delay on the project's scheduled opening in fall 2009.

In the past, construction delays have forced new schools to move their scheduled openings to second semester, an annoyance and hassle the Columbia School District is trying to avoid with this elementary school. Interim Superintendent Jim Ritter said the district is "working really hard to get it open ... on time."

About a month ago, Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent of elementary education, said construction crews counted up delays and found the rain had kept them from working 33 out of 70 possible working days. Despite those setbacks, bimonthly progress meetings, weekend workdays and the efforts of construction managers have kept the project on schedule. Jensen said "good progress" is being made, including concrete pouring and drilling for geothermal wells.

A committee to name the school will be appointed in October or November. In accordance with school board policies and guidelines, the committee will look to the community for ideas about possible names.

If possible, committee members will include those working in the new facility, according to the Columbia Public Schools facility naming guidelines. Additional guidelines include selecting a name that is easily identified with the school and avoiding names of living people.

The committee will make its recommendation to the board of education, which will then select the name for the elementary school.


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