COLUMBIA — Plans for Regional Catholic High School moved one step closer to final approval after a unanimous vote for the preliminary plan at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Thursday night. The plans will be submitted to the City Council for approval at the Oct. 16 meeting.
"I compliment the group in reaching out to neighbors," commission member Jeff Barrow said at the meeting. "It is a beautiful project that provides variety in education for the city."
The school would be located at the Gans Road and Highway 63 interchange, which is currently under construction. Peckham & Wright Architects is the principal architectural firm, and Allstate Consultants are the civil engineers for the project to prepare the 150,000-square-foot site.
The proposed plan has two phases. Phase One includes the building, parking and land development. The second phase includes adding a third level to the building, athletic facilities including a baseball field and additional parking spaces,, depending on funding.
Ray Beck, the high school's project director, said if the preliminary plans are approved by the City Council the school would begin work on the development plan and increase fundraising efforts.
The project includes internal plans such as classroom layouts, and would be followed by a final plan detailing specifications for the building and exterior. Once this plan is completed, bidding would begin for construction companies.
"A lot of people have contributed and are interested in the school," Beck said. "We haven't had a detailed plan to give people, and once we have the plan approved, we will help people see the work that has been done and gain interest."
The estimated costs for the building are between $14 million and $16 million. This amount only includes the building costs, and does not include furniture and other related expenses. As of Thursday, $5.8 million had been raised, with $1.5 million donated by the diocese.
A committee is currently working on plans for the school's curriculum, activities and athletics. Beck said that another committee is working on a contest for naming the school. Surveys are expected to be distributed through schools and other places in the community for people to make suggestions.
The school would open for 9th- and 10th-grade students in 2010 and for 11th- and 12th-grade students in 2012. Beck said they hope to have 100 to 200 students in the beginning. The building would hold approximately 400 students.