Columbia Public School District committee considers plans to expand Administration Building

Friday, June 25, 2010 | 8:00 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The Columbia Public School District is looking at the possibility of expanding the Administration Building by about 40,000 square feet.

Community Relations Coordinator Michelle Baumstark said this would almost double the size of the current building at 1818 Worley St.

Columbia Public School District office locations

Vandiver Drive Location:

  • Athletics Department
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • English Language Learners
  • Health Services
  • Instructional and Information Technology Services
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics (Elementary and Secondary)
  • Office of Research, Assessment, and Accountability
  • Parents As Teachers
  • Positive Behavior Support
  • Professional Development
  • School Improvement
  • Science and Secondary Health
  • Social Studies
  • Title I Preschool

Bernadette Drive Location:

  • Business Services
  • Gifted Program

source: Columbia Public School District website

Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said she, Deputy Superintendent Nick Boren, and Director of Facilities and Construction Services Charles Oestreich presented the option of expansion to the long-range facilities committee as a more efficient use of the district’s money.

Board of Education Vice President Tom Rose said the main force behind this idea is reducing rental spaces.

“This is a conversation we have been having for the last couple of years,” Quinley said.

Quinley said the district spends $341, 522 to rent the space at 555 Vandiver Drive and $152,305 for the offices at 916 Bernadette Drive. The district renewed these leases yearly.

Baumstark said the district looked into other locations in the local market, but all possible locations would need a significant amount of renovation.

“We want to get out of renting and in to owning,” Quinley said.

She said the landlords are willing to discuss selling the buildings to the district, but the committee sees more advantages in building their own space and not requiring employees to travel across town to work with another department.

“It would be ideal to bring all of the administration offices together,” Baumstark said. She said the district would like a central location to house all of the administration offices.

Advantages to designing a new space, Quinley said, would be fitting it to the specific needs of the administration and that the offices in that building would be able to share a support staff.

About 150 district employees work at the two rented locations, Baumstark said.

“We don’t have any spaces that we aren’t using,” Baumstark said.

She said the district is working to make part of Field Elementary more age-appropriate for the wide range of students that participate in the gifted program. The Title I preschool offices and classrooms are also scheduled to move into this building.

The potential construction would be a “budget neutral project,” Baumstark said. The district would not be using any additional funds, but would reallocate the amount spent on rent.

It could take about 20 years for the district to pay for the expansion project, Quinley said.

Baumstark said the district just renewed the lease for the Vandiver office building for one more year.

Quinley said the next step is to look for an architect and continue research. A presentation about the district's plans might be presented at September’s school board meeting.

The committee has been looking at other options, but Rose said the expansion of the Worley office building is “kind of the main one right now.”

“It is not something that is happening,” Baumstark said, “Right now, it is just a concept.”

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