COLUMBIA — A public elementary school planned for southwestern Columbia will be located on the 36-acre Sapp property on the northwest corner of Scott Boulevard and Route KK, the Columbia School Board announced Thursday.
The district has agreed to purchase the property from the Sapp family for $2.8 million.
The decision has been a long time coming.
In 2010 and 2012, voters approved two school bond issues — $120 million and $50 million, respectively. Portions of these bonds were allocated for two new elementary schools in the northeast and southwest parts of the district.
The property search for the southwest school began in January. Overall, 14 land options were reviewed.
The Long-range Facilities Planning Committee toured three sites, known as the Linnemeyer, Potterfield and Sapp properties. In February, the committee presented the Sapp site to the school board as the best option.
The district signed a real estate contract with the Sapp family. But in July, the family decided to take the property off the market. Although the board considered other options, including the Linnemeyer and Potterfield sites, none was approved.
Now, the Sapp site is the district's choice once again.
For schools on the south side of town, this decision means relief. Rock Bridge and Mill Creek elementary schools are over capacity and expect to lower enrollment numbers when the new school opens.
Until then, Rock Bridge and Mill Creek will need to find interim solutions to lower enrollment numbers.
"The most equitable way would be to move boundaries," said Peter Stiepleman, assistant superintendent for elementary education, at a morning meeting of the Columbia School Board.
Although the southwest school is still scheduled to open in 2016, once construction finally begins, that date could change, board members said at the meeting. The board discussed the possibility of delaying the school's opening until January 2017 if construction does not move fast enough.
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