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Columbia city council delays zoning for new middle school

Columbia city council members delayed the zoning approval of a new southwest middle school. (Mark Slavit/KRCG 13)

Columbia city council members said they have delayed the zoning approval of a new southwest middle school.

Neighbors in a nearby subdivision said they were worried the new school will cause traffic problems on an underdeveloped county road.

Sinclair Road is a county road that needs improvements to handle higher traffic volume. Columbia city council members delayed the zoning of a new middle school on Sinclair Road that was scheduled to open in 2020.

Some neighbors in nearby subdivisions want a comprehensive Sinclair Road improvement plan that included multiple lanes, wider shoulders and sidewalks.

“That’s not in anybody’s budget," Columbia councilman Michael Trapp said. "It’s not a funded project in our capital improvements projects. There are five projects on Sinclair Road to improve traffic in the area.”

Columbia voters passed a school bond issue to pay for the five Sinclair Road projects on school property. School district officials said they were not responsible for improvements on the entire stretch of Sinclair Road.

“We can only develop or partner in developing infrastructure and roads where we own property," Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said. "We can’t develop roads or sites that we don’t own.”

Columbia Public School administrators moved up the opening date of the new middle school from 2022 to 2020 because of overcrowding at Gentry Middle School. School administrators said the new middle school would hold more than 700 students.

Columbia city officials conducted a traffic study on Sinclair Road. Councilman Trapp said the results of that study showed Sinclair Road would adequately and safely serve the needs of the area without any major improvements.

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