Year in Review – Top Columbia Heights stories, #4: Addition at Highland Elementary is built
Construction began this past June
The end of 2012 marks the completion of an addition to Highland Elementary, which eases space limitations because of increased enrollment.
The addition on the south side of the school in Columbia Heights, which includes five kindergarten classrooms and a pre-kindergarten classroom, reached completion in mid-December. The teachers began moving in on Dec. 17, and the students started in the new classrooms on Jan. 2.
The Columbia Heights School Board approved the addition in October 2011; the addition is being financed through a lease levy. For 2012, the board elected not to levy for those dollars. Each year, the district will decide whether it needs to levy the dollars, but it should be able to make the payments using enrollment dollars from the general fund.
In the fall of 2011, Bill Holmgren, director of finance and operations, reported that the school district’s three elementary schools were over the 460-student capacity. There has been growth across the board at the three elementary schools, and enrollment is projected to increase in the foreseeable future.
Highland Elementary Principal Michele DeWitt said teachers had been “juggling classrooms” and sharing space to meet needs. The computer lab in the media center had been serving as a classroom.
Before the addition, there were two kindergarten rooms on the first floor and three smaller kindergarten rooms on the second floor. Originally, all kindergarten classrooms were on the first floor, but additional classrooms were needed.
The school district held a groundbreaking ceremony on June 5 for the addition. A community open house is being planned for mid-January.