New Albany-Plain Local Superintendent April Domine has assembled 16 people to serve on a facilities committee.

New Albany-Plain Local Superintendent April Domine has assembled 16 people to serve on a facilities committee.

The committee includes teachers, principals and parents from different neighborhoods. Some of the parents do not have children enrolled in the district.

The group met for the first time April 19 and learned its mission: to determine the best use of the district's facilities and how and when new space should be added.

Domine said the facilities committee has an aggressive timeline and needs to have work done by the end of May or early June. The committee's findings will be crafted as a recommendation to the school board.

Domine said the committee is different because members should consider space as a tool for education. They will not be asked to consider exterior building materials or parking spaces.

Instead, they will be asked to consider how the district can get the best use out of space and how much space it will need to achieve its vision of "reinventing education."

"Space is a tool, but space does not have to be a limitation," Domine said. "Teaching can happen anywhere."

She said juniors and seniors could someday spend most of their school days off campus, taking college-level courses or interning with local businesses.

Once the committee determines the district's space needs, Domine said, members will have to determine a reasonable cost for the space.

Several committee members said it would be refreshing to talk more about educational concepts than building details. Committee member Andrew Show said whatever the group decides, the ideas need to be supported by the community.

At the group's first meeting, Domine brought members up to speed on the district's overcrowding problem. The district is 121 students over capacity, if all buildings are considered.

The district has two modular buildings next to the 2-5 elementary building, and many of the district's fifth-graders have class in the annex building on High Street. If those three buildings are taken out of the equation, the district is 521 students over capacity, Domine said.

The modulars and the annex were not meant for permanent use.

District Director of Operations Ken Stark said the modulars already had been used when the district leased them, and each will need work in the next five years. He said modular units can last 15 years.

Stark said the annex will need structural, plumbing and electrical work, most likely before the 2017-18 school year. He said the cost could be "six figures."

Stark said in 2002, the Ohio School Facilities Commission looked at the annex and determined it would cost two-thirds as much to renovate the building as it would to build a new one. The commission does not typically provide funds for renovation in that case, he said.

Committee members asked if adding classroom space helps with overcrowding.

Stark said as more students are added, common areas, such as the cafeteria and gymnasium, become more difficult to use. As an example, he said, the 2-5 building has eight lunch periods scheduled from 10:40 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Domine said the committee needs to consider the potential for all-day kindergarten, which the district has considered for several years. She wants the group to consider if all-day kindergarten fits the district's vision.

School board member Mark Ryan said all-day kindergarten should be added because it is a meaningful program.

Domine said if all-day kindergarten is added, the district should anticipate more kindergarten students. She said many kindergartners who live in the district attend all-day kindergarten programs elsewhere.

The district has a facilities master plan that was completed in 2010. Domine said the committee will use the plan as a foundation.

Ryan said the master plan shows the district can continue to grow and keep students on one central campus, which is important because spaces can be shared. Middle school students already take some classes in the high school.

Committee member John McClelland suggested the committee go one step further and consider how the campus and buildings can be used by adults, which could expand the district's positive voting base.

The committee will meet weekly through the end of May.