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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Safe, Warm, Dry & Smart: Renovations at Columbia!

Two years ago early in June, I wrote a detailed account of our Facility Improvement Team and their work collecting data, information and their task of formulating a strategic facility improvement plan.  I began my column by writing about a big red barn that I passed by each day on the way to school.  This barn was warn and dirty, areas of the fa├žade were crooked and in need of assistance.  As I look at the barn two years later, I notice that it has continued to deteriorate.  The red paint has continued to chip and peel.  It is in need of renovation.  

Much like the red barn, schools in the Columbia District needed renovating and if something wasn’t done, they would have continued to disintegrate due to age.  During our planning phase there were approximately forty community members who created a Facilities Master plan which is focused on the needs of our current and future students.  During the past year we have been able to put our extensive planning into action. 

As you drive by the schools this summer you will find an immense amount of improvements taking place.  At Columbia Central the front drive area contains increased safety in the form of a bus drop-off area in front of the gymnasium and a parent loop directly in front of the office and band area.  During the day parents and visitors to Columbia Central Junior –Senior High School will enter through the north set of doors on the west side of the building.  Parents and visitors will enter through a secure vestibule into the office.  In the morning during student arrival, entry will be through the visitors’ entrance at the front of the building along with an entrance on the north side of the building from the student parking lot.  Similarly, there will be a secure entry vestibule at both the K-2 and the 3-6 building to provide an increased degree of safety for our students. 

Also part of the facility plan is the increased integration of technology.  Each classroom will have SMART Technology.  At Columbia Elementary K-2, each room will have a SMART Board and at Columbia Elementary 3-6 and Columbia Central Jr. - Sr. High School, each classroom will have a SMART Interactive Projector and a whiteboard.  The increased technology integration also includes additional Chromebooks and iPads for use with all curricular areas.

In addition, all buildings are receiving a facelift including: new windows, doors, flooring, heating and air conditioning and updated paint.  The updating of the tennis courts and track at Columbia Central will provide years of physical activity for area residents.  A new playground at the 3-6 building has delighted students this year and we were able add a new playground structure at the PreK-2 building for the preschool and kindergarten students.  If you have questions regarding programs at Columbia School District email me at or call 5175926641.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Control/Alt/Delete; each time I turn on my computer I tap on these three keys to gain entrance to the world of technology.  In much the same way, Columbia School District teachers, parents and students had to move furniture out of the buildings to gain entry to the amazing world of renovation.  Over the course of the past year we have updated our schools with new roofs, new parking areas, upgraded technology and a newly renovated junior high wing at Columbia Central.  The current phase of renovations began with a lot of effort.  All of the furniture was moved from the inside of the school to the outside of the school.  The furniture went into trailers, over to Miller for storage and to the “give-away” areas.  Through all of the difficult and tedious work it was easy to see why our Columbia students excel!  Not only did the teachers work diligently to make sure all of their items were packed away for safe keeping, but we had parents, teachers’ families, students and graduates carrying, lugging and organizing educational items for next year. 

Now that all of the work emptying the buildings is complete, our contractors are deep into the demolition of removing old duct-work, ceiling tiles, windows, doors, outdated electrical wiring and panels, technology wiring and switches, and the Columbia Central Junior/Senior High School bus drive and parent drop-off loops.  Over the next several weeks the contractors will begin work on the tennis courts and the track surfacing at Columbia Central. 

It is exciting to see all of the renovations and upgrades at our schools!  The diligent work to prepare and carry out the renovations, collaboration of various community groups, parents, teachers, board members, and administrators will give our students the optimal areas in which to learn and develop their intellect to facilitate success as they grow and mature.  We anticipate a great finish to the renovations late in August.  Please consider donating some time during our “Back-to-School Move In” which will take place sometime around August 31st.  As the move in date gets closer, I will keep you informed.  If you would like more information on Columbia School District, our renovated facilities or great programs, please email me at or call 5175926641.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day One for Our Graduates!

Recently a new song was released by Matthew West entitled “Day One”.  He begins lamenting that instead of looking forward, he dwells on was has happened in the past and that he is always trying to measure up to perfection.  He goes on to say that no one is keeping score so he will begin anew, because today is “day one of the rest of his life”!

As we focus on our students who are graduating, we encourage them to begin their new life with gusto, to take risks, and to reach out and make a positive impact on their surroundings.  In the same way as West sang, it is “Day One,” it is imperative that our seniors go on to the next stage; their future. 

It was such a pleasure and honor to take part in the Columbia School District graduation ceremonies for all of our graduates.  On Thursday Columbia School District had 19 Adult Education and Options High School students enjoy commencement, and then on Friday we had the pleasure of seeing 107 Columbia Central High School seniors graduate.  

Our seniors have grown together, laughed together and learned together.  Our young people are full of potential.  They have the opportunity to meet and defeat the challenges they face.  They are the promise of tomorrow.  Their past learning experiences give them the platform for their future success!
Congratulations to all 126 Columbia School District graduates as they discover their bright future, because as Matthew West said, It is Day One of the rest of your life.  The Columbia School District Family is cheering them on to success.  We will always be here for our graduates!  If you are interested in joining the Columbia School District Family, email me at or call 5175926641.