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Project Spotlight: New Southwest Middle School for Columbia

Separate site preparation plans for the new middle school allowed earthwork to begin and accelerated the project schedule.

Continued population growth has resulted in increased enrollment for Columbia Public Schools (CPS), creating a strain on existing buildings and infrastructure.  Since 2006, CPS has tackled this problem head-on with an aggressive expansion of facilities that has included a new high school, multiple elementary schools, and expansions of existing facilities to reduce the need for classroom trailers. Engineering Surveys & Services has been a proud participant in this process which continues with the New Southwest Middle School.

​Located in southwest Columbia on Sinclair Road, the New Southwest Middle School will be an entirely new campus on a 63-acre tract, consisting of a 127,000-sf building, athletic facilities, and future expansion area for the middle school and a future second education facility.  ES&S provided initial site selection screening of over 20 potential locations, boundary and topographic survey data collection, platting, and civil-site design services that included a mass grading plan, access drives, parking lots, turn lanes on Sinclair Road, athletic facilities, stormwater management, and offsite utility extensions.  

ES&S prepared a separate site preparation bid package in order to allow construction to begin while design of the facility continued.  This is expected to reduce the overall project schedule by several months.  ES&S also worked hard to reduce project costs.  An example of this was the elimination of a proposed  large retaining wall.    ES&S staff worked with CPS to negotiate an easement  on the adjacent property to grade a slope, which generated needed fill material for the 200,000 cubic yards of mass grading, and eliminated the retaining wall, saving approximately $100,000 in project expense.

This was also one of the first large projects following passage of the City’s new Uniform Development Code (UDC).  Part of the new UDC requirements includes preservation of significant trees. In order to meet these requirements, ES&S trained their staff to accurately and efficiently identify and locate significant trees, measuring tree diameters using a special forestry tape and collecting tree locations using GPS.

Working hand in hand with CPS and the project’s prime designer, PWArchitects, Engineering Surveys & Services is proud to be a part of this exciting project. 

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