Schools committee recommends that Field turn into early childhood center

Friday, October 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:56 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 30, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee for Columbia Public Schools recommended on Thursday that Field Elementary School be turned into an early childhood education center and that a  property being purchased at 4600 Bethel St. be used for special needs students.

Field students will move in January to the new Alpha Hart Davis Elementary School; the district has been trying to decide what to do with the school once it becomes vacant.

Under the proposal, students from the rented Bearfield School would go to the Bethel Street property, the purchase of which was approved Thursday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The Bethel Street property is being paid for mostly with stimulus money. At the meeting, Ines Segert, chairwoman of the committee and a member of the Columbia School Board, said the district will save about $90,000 a year by moving to the Bethel property.

The committee's recommendation will go to the School Board at its Nov. 9 meeting. Although no vote was taken, moving the recommendation appeared to be unanimous.

The decision to use Field for an early childhood center took in a few considerations: More children in early childhood programs live in the area around Field, Segert said. Because of the central location, it is much more accessible to them because the district doesn't provide transportation to preschool students, she said.


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