Chat with Chase canceled

Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | 2:27 p.m. CDT; updated 8:36 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Chat with Chase session scheduled for this evening was canceled after no one showed up to talk to Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Phyllis Chase and other administrators, who made themselves available to discuss the design of the new elementary school. One person was present at another Chat with Chase session held earlier this morning.

Marta Holmes was the only community member to attend this morning’s Chat with Chase regarding the elementary school. Although her two children are in middle school and high school, Holmes said she was interested in knowing how the elementary design was coming and thinks all community members should be involved.

After hearing Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent for elementary education, speak about the school’s design, Holmes said she liked the safety features of the building.

The two-story school features one main entrance for security purposes and other doors will remain locked once school is in session, Jensen said.

“Anyone coming in has to go through the office and waiting room,” he said.

Another feature Holmes liked was the pod concept where classrooms are grouped by grades. During the presentation, Jensen said pod design helps increase collaboration among teachers.

One question Holmes had related to how “green” the building was going to be. Jensen said that was being taken into consideration and a geothermal heat pump is being considered for the school. He said building green includes more than just developing energy efficient systems; architects also take into consideration where the materials for construction are purchased and shipped from.

Jensen said the roughly 90,000-square-foot school, which will be completed for the 2009-2010 school year, will eventually have an enrollment of 650 students. It will be on 20 acres in the northeastern part of Columbia on a planned extension of Waco Road.

Jensen said DLR Group of Kansas City is still in the design phase of the school, but preliminary architectural drawings can be found at

Those unable to attend Chat with Chase can complete a survey the district created regarding the elementary school at

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