Columbia Independent School has acquired land to build a campus of its own.
School officials announced Saturday at its annual fund-raising gala that the future site of the CIS campus is 5720 S. Route K, a 36-acre parcel, just south of Rock Bridge Elementary School.
Since the K-12 college preparatory school’s founding in 1996, CIS has operated out of two rented buildings in downtown Columbia. The Lower School, grades K-5, is located in the Sacred Heart Education Building on Waugh Street and the Upper School is in Hickman Hall on the Stephens College Campus.
The two campuses not only separate the school, but also lack the identity and facilities they desire, said Trent Amond, head of school at CIS.
Amond said a unified campus is necessary to provide the types of educational programs envisioned for CIS.
A unified campus will allow students in all grades to interact. It will also allow the school to accommodate twice the number of students enrolled currently, said CIS Boardman Chairman John Thompson. CIS enrolls almost 200 students.
Amond said the new campus will “let us bring our entire student body together on one campus,” and by doing this “it will help give us an identity,” and spread awareness of CIS throughout the community.
Although the sale price of the property has not been disclosed, a portion of the property was donated by the sellers.
Glen Strothmann and Andy McVey, business partners and owners of the land, planned to use the property to design a neighborhood, Strothmann said.
After learning more about CIS and its future goals they felt that the land would be a positive contribution to CIS and an important asset to the community, Strothmann said.
Strothmann said he believes in what the school offers through a unique education process.
“There is great participation and lot of wonderful people connected with the independent school,” he said.
The future site of the school lies adjacent to Rock Bridge State Park, property of which the city and land owners are very protective. However, Strothmann thinks CIS will be “a great neighbor to the park.”
Now that CIS has secured the land for the campus, they will begin a fund raising for the project and the design work.