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 façade 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5175926641.