Battle High School taking shape, construction on schedule

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | 5:43 p.m. CDT; updated 8:51 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011
According to Columbia Public Schools, the road project around Battle High School includes the construction of Battle Avenue and Spartan Way as well as improvement of St. Charles Road.

COLUMBIA — By the end of the month, Battle High School will be 50 percent finished and new roads leading to it will be finished, Columbia Public Schools officials said this week.

"The weather we've had of late has been wonderful for the project," Deputy Superintendent Nick Boren said. He said asphalt for the two roads still needing work will be placed this week.

District spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said construction on Battle is on schedule and on budget. Boren said right now it looks like the school might cost less than the allotted $75 million construction budget.

Almost all of the structural steel work for the building is complete. The masonry and block walls are finished on the high school proper, and almost all of the work on the four learning towers is complete.

Boren said the next big milestone is to get the school "under roof" by winter. This will allow crews inside to work on the interior walls, the sprinkler systems and electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems.

Work has begun outside on athletic fields, the press box and concession stand. The field house, described by Boren as a restroom facility for visitors and students using the athletic fields, is now closed in.

Boren said 75 to 80 percent of the work is complete on the athletic fields. The pad for the tennis courts is in place; work on the courts will begin in the spring. Because the football field will use artificial turf, it will be one of the last things finished.

In addition to the progress made on the school, Boren said offsite development is 65 to 70 percent complete. That includes work on St. Charles Road and construction of two new streets, Spartan Way and Battle Avenue. St. Charles Road recently reopened to traffic.

Improvements to St. Charles Road include widening it to create shoulders, installing a traffic light, replacing the old asphalt surface with a new one and creating a turning lane onto Battle Avenue. Battle Avenue will lead to the school's front gate, and Spartan Way will connect Battle Avenue to the back end of the school.

The district has a budget of $1.6 million for the road project. The money is coming from a bond issue approved by voters in 2010.

Although the city is not contributing to the road project, it has allocated $700,000 for a sewer line to the high school, said Jill Stedem, spokeswoman for the Columbia Public Works Department.

The Boone County Commission, meanwhile, has agreed to reimburse the district $250,000 for the improvement of St. Charles Road after the project is complete.

"(St. Charles Road) is a public road. The Columbia Public Schools shouldn't be responsible for 100 percent of the cost," Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said.

The county money will be enough to cover the cost of two concrete box culverts that will replace smaller metal culverts that were unable to handle stormwater after heavy rains, Elkin said.

While asphalt work still remains on two of the roads, Boren expects it will be placed early next week.

"Things are going incredibly well," Boren said. "It's starting to look more like a high school than a construction project."

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