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      New Columbia elementary school will ease overcrowding

      It doesn't have a name yet, but Columbia School District officials Wednesday broke ground near Battle High School for a new elementary school. There will be room for 450 kids, in kindergarten through 5th grades. The design allows for expansion to serve 650. The goals is to help reduce overcrowding at Alpha Hart Lewis and reduce the use of trailers at Two Mile Prairie School. The new facility will receive $150,000 from the City of Columbia to allow the district to expand the school's gym to accommodate more community groups. According to Assistant Superintendent Peter Stiepleman the money will give the district, "the ability to put down bleachers and a better quality floor, as well as a little bit longer and a little bit wider court." He says that will give groups like the Columbia Youth Basketball Association better access to the gym in the evenings and on weekends. This is the district's 20th elementary school and it should be open by the fall of 2015.