Air-conditioning project in Columbia elementary schools closer to completion

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | 11:14 p.m. CDT; updated 12:12 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 6, 2012

COLUMBIA — All but two schools in the Columbia Public School District will have air conditioning by the end of this summer.

Air conditioning is being installed at Ridgeway, Lee, Midway Heights, Grant and Two Mile Prairie elementary schools. The plan is to have the buildings ready when the 2012-13 school year begins Aug. 16.

Only Jefferson and West junior high schools remain without air conditioning. The size and age of those buildings make installation more difficult, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said. The goal is to have air conditioning installed at those schools by 2014.

That goal is in keeping with a schedule included in a $120 million bond issue approved in April 2010. Installing air conditioners at the seven buildings is included in a $14.8 million chunk of that bond issue.

Installing air conditioners in the five elementary schools will cost the district $4.2 million, Baumstark said. 

In August, the Columbia School Board decided to use an increase in property taxes to jump-start the air-conditioning project. The school board typically adjusts the tax levy once a year by a small amount; last year, it was raised by 3.2 cents, making the levy about $4.88 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey. 

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