Columbia may get new Catholic elementary school

Members of Columbia's three Catholic parishes met to discuss the possibility of building a second elementary school to alleviate overcrowding.

As of 2013, Columbia only has one inter-parish elementary school to serve the thousands of Catholics who reside in the City. Father Joe Corel said the lack of space needs to be addressed.

"It's hard to say how much they're overcrowded by. We have eight trailers, so they're being educated in trailers," Father Corel said. "We can't put more trailers on the property because there isn't enough room for them."

Father Corel also said the extra classroom space would be used for adult education and bring a benefit to the community at large.

The Catholic Dioceses of Jefferson City facilitated the meeting, which gave parishioners a chance to talk amongst themselves about their excitement for the prospect of a new school and discuss concerns they have about issues pertaining to the particulars of building one.

Parishioners got a chance to sit down at small tables and write down their concerns before sharing them with the larger group. Some people wanted to know how much it would cost to build the school, and how it would be financed. Others wanted to know how much tuition would be, and if a sliding scale would be applied to students who may not be able to afford it.

These and other details, like who would get to go to the new elementary school if it were to be built, have yet to be worked out by the Diocese. They plan to hold several more meetings, at which point they will analyze the feedback from parishioners in order to make a better decision on how to proceed.