School board approves additional funds for parking project

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Plans for additional parking spaces for Columbus High School students will move forward.  As News 3 previously reported, residents in the area have complained about students parking on their streets.

The Muscogee County School Board voted six to three Tuesday night to move forward with plans to add about 60 plus additional parking spaces at Columbus High.  The vote came after discussion about the project costing some $200,000 more than originally estimated.

The district’s Director of Construction Robert Hecht says their department isn’t familiar with retaining ponds, which some of the land sits on.  The school board spent $250,000 to buy a house beside the school to make into a parking lot.

“Value is what it means to the person who wants the property so, I stand behind the price that we paid for the house to begin with and the original money and I’m going to vote yes tonight because we’ve just got to make the best of a bad situation,” said board member Frank Myers.

Board Vice Chair Kia Chambers says other ideas for the parking lot have been discussed during executive session in the past.

“I feel like if we had known upfront that it was going to be 900,000 dollars we probably would have chosen the other option,” Chambers said.

Board Chair Pat Hugley Green joined in on the discussion.

“We can look at other options, but if we vote tonight, we’re going to be moving forward so, we need to think about what we want to do.  We’re the board,” she said.

Hecht says they can fit about 45 cars on the lot where the house stands and have about 20 more spots from where the detention pond stands.  He says groundbreaking could happen in the next two to three weeks.

The school board also approved the 2017-2018 school calendar, which will push spring break back a week.

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