Facilities dominated the discussion at the New Albany-Plain Local board of education's annual retreat meeting, held at the Commercial Vehicle Group offices Sept. 16.

Facilities dominated the discussion at the New Albany-Plain Local board of education's annual retreat meeting, held at the Commercial Vehicle Group offices Sept. 16.

Architect Kevin Harrison presented an updated plan for an expansion to the K-1 building to represent the additional space needed to house all-day kindergarten for the district.

He said the current K-1 building was designed for an addition of seven to nine classrooms but would not be enough to accommodate all-day kindergarten at build-out -- estimated at 2025.

"We quickly realized we needed more than seven to nine additional classrooms to accommodate all-day kindergarten," Harrison said.

Harrison presented the board with a new diagram to house the estimated 890 students at build-out.

The number of students is based on an enrollment study completed last year by Steve Pleasnick of Georgetown, Midwest and Pacific Consulting.

Harrison said the information presented to the board was a result of a study and was not a rendering for an addition.

"This is not, by any means, a design of an addition of the building," Harrison said. "We were trying to see if we can accommodate this much on the area and stay within the building setbacks and all the requirements."

Harrison said it would be possible to fit an addition large enough on the current K-1 plot of land with an expanded parking lot, service drive and play area.

The example he provided showed a needed 38,596-square-foot expansion, with the completed building totaling about 108,000 square feet.

Ken Stark, district director of business operations, said the expansion to house all-day kindergarten contains not only classroom space but also space for a cafeteria and specials.

"There are some things that full-day kindergarten makes a very big difference," he said. "You can no longer get by using a single space."

Harrison also provided the board with a cost estimate based on when the district would go to voters for a bond issue.

His estimates showed that if voters were to approve a bond issue in November 2010, the addition would cost $14.7-million. The building would be ready for students by August 2012. He also provided prices based on going to voters in 2011 and 2012.

Superintendent Steve Castle said those projections do not include the operational costs for additional teachers and staff and daily operational costs of running a larger building.

Stark said administrators had advised Harrison to study a bond issue for a November election because the timing would allow the building to be ready to open by the start of a new school year.

"If you look at the calendar instead of completing in July, you would finish construction sometime in March or April, and you could be trying to occupy in the middle of the year," he said.

Castle said the facilities committee should be reconvened. It met last year to look at all of the different facilities options.

He said he thinks it would make sense to wait to have the committee meet until the state clears up the new state education requirements and the district has the most recent enrollment projections in December.

Board member Mike Klein said he thinks the district needs to reconvene the committee as soon as possible to allow for a bond issue to go on the ballot next May.

To go on the ballot in May, the board would have to vote to do so by mid-February. For a November ballot issue, the board would have to vote by mid-August.

Klein said the committee would need to look at all-day kindergarten facility issues and districtwide needs because all-day kindergarten and the 5-6 annex, the former Columbus Jewish Day School and Jewish Community Center were not on the table when the facilities committee last met.

Klein also suggested conducting a districtwide survey on the wants of parents.

"I prefer an aggressive approach," Klein said. "I want the record to reflect I would like a facilities committee to meet tomorrow if it could and get this information before the board."

Member Mark Ryan said he thinks some homework needs to be done before the committee comes together.

"I think Kevin's done the capital (expense) side of it," he said. "I think what we are asking for is the operational side of it."

He suggested the committee start in January -- after the board sets a specific charge for the group.

Castle said he would present the board with cost data regarding different options for all-day kindergarten. He said he would provide the cost of implementing all-day kindergarten next year, which would require the purchase of two two-classroom modulars, during the board's Oct. 12 work session. He also will provide operation-cost estimates.

"We have options," Castle said. "We have the operating-fund carryover. There is some permanent-improvement (fund) carryover, and there are some short-term loans that we can look at."

Castle said he would ask the members of the facilities committee that met last year if they would like to reconvene.