Area High Schools May See New Gyms

Nov 14, 2011

Columbia Public Schools administrators will meet tonight to ask the Board of Education’s approval of an $11.8 million contract to build new gymnasiums at Hickman and Rock Bridge high schools.

At the school board meeting Monday, Columbia Public Schools will approve the contract with Sircal Contracting Inc. of Jefferson City to build two new gymnasiums. The district is moving ninth graders from junior high into the high schools, so the additional gyms are crucial to serving the growing student populations.

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the high schools have needed the new space for a long time.

"Right now we’re busting at the seams with just having one gym, so if we add an additional grade, it will make it very difficult for those 9th graders to be able to have the curriculum that they will need to have access to," she said.

Currently, each gym serves populations around 1,800 students.  School board member Jonathan Sessions said students need more.  

"We have several hundred more students needing half of their P.E. credit using up those spaces and if they’re already booked and all of the sudden you need several hundred more students needing that space, you need to have a second gym."

Construction on both gyms will begin this winter and they will open in the 2013-14 school year.