The Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors hosted a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday to dedicate Rock Bridge High School’s new auxiliary gym. This project was part of the $120 million bond issue approved by voters in 2010.
The gym cost $4.1 million and seats 300 to 500 people. Its construction lasted less than a year, and many other projects funded by the 2010 bond issued remain in progress.
“We’ve been spending money just about as fast as we can to get the most out of our investment,” Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said.
Rock Bridge also built new wrestling, weight, locker, training and office rooms.
Belcher said in addition to benefiting current students, the extra space is vital for the upcoming school year. He said Rock Bridge will need two viable gyms to maintain a comprehensive high school model, meaning the high school will now add ninth grade classes and athletics to its curriculum.
Rock Bridge students only needed to fulfill one-half credit of physical education in previous years. Because the high school will become a four-year school next year, the state of Missouri requires all students to complete one full physical education credit.
“I think people may look at it and say, ‘Oh they built another gym for sports,’” Rock Bridge Athletic Director Jennifer Mast said. “Well, sports are going to use it, but it was really a curricular decision.”
Mast also said the improvements, specifically new access points to the school’s south loading docks, will be more aesthetically and logistically pleasing to spectators and students.
Columbia residents can expect other projects like the construction of a new elementary school and the expansion of Shepard Boulevard Elementary to be the next new and improved facilities.