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The exterior of south Columbia's John Warner Middle School, which is CPS' 7th middle school (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS' Michelle Baumstark)

CPS proceeding with new $25-million elementary in fast-growing south Columbia

The exterior of south Columbia’s John Warner Middle School, which is CPS’ 7th middle school (2021 file photo courtesy of CPS’ Michelle Baumstark)

Columbia’s school board has given the green light to a $1.1 million architect services agreement involving a new elementary school that will be built next to south Columbia’s John Warner middle school.

Columbia Public Schools (CPS) patrons approved an $80-million bond issue in April, which is funding the $25-million new elementary school that will be built. CPS’ Michelle Baumstark tells 939 the Eagle that the time has arrived, as we continue to see growth in south Columbia. She also notes a large home development is scheduled to be built across the street from both schools. That development will have about 500 homes.

CPS Superintendent Dr. Brian Yearwood has said that growth is the main reason behind the bond issue. CPS is now Missouri’s fifth-largest district, with 18,500 students. Dr. Yearwood expects that to grow to about 20,000 in the next ten years.

Meantime, a $15-million addition and renovation at the Columbia Area Career Center is planned.  Columbia’s school board has voted to approve a $783,000 architect services agreement for the project, which is being funded by the April bond issue.

The career center project has been a top priority for Superintendent Yearwood and for school board member Blake Willoughby, who visited a Kansas City-area career center this spring. Mr. Willougby is excited about a 21st century career center and the renovations that are planned.

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