Columbia School Board to vote on bid to build new elementary school

Sunday, September 8, 2013 | 4:00 p.m. CDT; updated 11:24 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Columbia School Board is expected to vote Monday on the construction bid for a new elementary school in northeast Columbia.

If approved, construction will begin this month. The project is expected to be completed in July 2015, allowing students to enroll at the school for the 2015-16 academic year.

The boundary process for enrollment has not started. The district wants the building to hold about 600 students, district spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said.

Eleven construction companies based in Missouri and Illinois submitted bids to build the elementary school.

District administration recommended that K&S Construction of St. Louis undertake the project. The company's $13,572,500 bid is the lowest total bid and meets the district's requested specifications for construction, according to documents prepared for board members.

At Monday's meeting, the board will also vote on the school's naming committee. Five community members have been invited to join the committee:

  • Karla DeSpain, former school board member.
  • Demarko Coleman, member of the Minority Men's Network and Kiwanis board member.
  • Lenny Sanchez, MU assistant professor of education.
  • Carole Garth, New Haven Elementary School principal.
  • Jacquie Ward, Shepard Boulevard Elementary School principal.

Walking School Bus

Board members are also expected to vote on the district's contract with the PedNet Coalition for the Walking School Bus program to decide whether to keep or revise current program costs and services following a change in funding.

"The program was always funded independently with grants," Baumstark said. "This would be a different concept — since the grant funding is going away — as to whether or not the school district wants to support the program financially for it to continue as it is now."

The proposed $57,000 contract covers the coalition's administrative overhead costs and supports its role in developing walking routes, recruiting and supervising walking leaders, and maintaining good relations with CPS liaisons. It also funds stipends for eight teachers for their work with the program before or after regular school hours.

"The board members may decide that they want to continue with the structure that it is now, or they may say, 'Let's move forward in order to re-evaluate how the current structure is set up,'" Baumstark said.

Other items up for vote

  • Whether to approve proposed changes to the employee benefit plan design and change in rates. If the changes are approved, the board will have a new plan document at the October meeting. Open enrollment work will begin in November.
  • Whether to approve a $2.6 million bid by C.L. Richardson of Ashland for the transportation facility site project. The project includes storm water compliance measures, a security fence, fuel tank replacement, lighting, Department of Natural Resources compliance measures, two new entrances, required dust-free parking and a retaining wall on the west side of the facility. The second part of the project will be presented to the board in the next two to three months.
  • Whether to approve proposed changes to several district policies, including

    leaves and absences, workers' compensation, time schedules, administration of medication to students, and allergy prevention and response.

  • Whether to approve proposed changes to the district's property and general liability insurance, as well as automobile fleet insurance. The changes would increase the annual cost of insurance coverages by $246,154, which would require a budget increase of $190,000.

The board meeting is open to the public and will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Neil C. Aslin District Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Supervising editor is Margaux Henquinet.

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