New Albany-Plain Local School District administrators are asking the federal government for $50-million to expand the central campus.

New Albany-Plain Local School District administrators are asking the federal government for $50-million to expand the central campus.

Superintendent Steve Castle applied for three separate projects -- $25-million for the construction of a 5-6 building, $10-million for the expansion of the current K-1 building and $15-million for a freestanding academic building.

On Feb. 27, the district submitted to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission an application comprised of three different requests for "stimulus" money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Castle said he and other administrators have been working closely with state Reps. Marian Harris (D-Columbus) and Nancy Garland (D-New Albany). He said the most important aspect of the project is the construction of a new 5-6 building.

"I think it would be a great benefit for our school district if we could even jet the 5-6 building because that is a shovel-ready project," Castle said.

He said the finance committee, which had met up to the passage of the November levy, recommended that the district look into alternative funding sources to avoid raising taxes.

Castle said the board decided to go ahead and have the construction plan drawn up about 15 months ago so the project could be started as soon as funding is available. The district was set to ask voters to approve a 2.34-mill bond issue for construction. The Nov. 8, 2007, measure was rejected by a slim majority of voters.

Castle said Kevin Harrison of TMP Associates completed the drawings. They plan to use Turner Construction again, he said.

The 102,317-square-foot proposed building would be along state Route 605, north of the 2-5 and 1925 buildings.

"The board, through its long-term planning efforts, has been purchasing land on state Route 605 as those homes become available," Castle said. "A couple of years ago, we purchased the house that will come down once the new school building goes up. The building will be adjacent to our middle school football and track fields."

Castle also said that if the K-1 expansion were funded, the plans would include enough space to accommodate all-day kindergarten.

He said he does not know when the district would hear back from MORPC but that he hopes to hear from the group soon.

"We certainly understand that it is probably a long shot, but at the same time, we just felt it was very important to submit the proposal with the hope that some of it could be funded," Castle said. "We have been informed that although every school district in Ohio had the opportunity to apply, only about 20 of us do so out of the 614 districts. I don't know if that will benefit us or not."

Castle said that if the district were to receive the full amount of the grant, it would eliminate the need for at least the first part of a bond issue.

He said the cost for the past failed bond issues was about $70-million, which was split into two ballot initiatives.

The money that would have been raised from the most recent bond requests would have been used to fund the three requests in his stimulus application, as well as go to expand the high school arts building, connect the 5-6 building to the rest of the campus and update campus-wide technology, Castle said.

"What we keep hearing is the federal government and the Obama administration wants to get this money released as quickly as possible," he said. "We are monitoring it every day and anxiously waiting."