The New Albany-Plain Local school board on Jan. 28 selected Moody-Nolan of Columbus to lead the construction of a new school building between the 2-5 elementary building and New Albany Middle School.
Contract negotiations with Moody-Nolan were still in progress.
The construction will be funded by a 2.59-mill bond issue that will generate $45.1 million. Local voters approved the bond request Nov. 6 as part of Issue 50, which also included a 4.24-mill continuous operating levy to generate $3.51 million.
District officials hope to have a design in place and break ground in the spring so the building will be open by the fall of 2014.
Curtis Moody, a partner in Moody-Nolan, told the school board company officials hope to design a building unlike anything that's been done before.
"We're looking forward to not just strictly building a building, but basically creating a community," Moody said.
Moody said Moody-Nolan will work on design with local architect Brian Kent Jones, who has designed many residential and public spaces in New Albany.
Brent Wilcox, Moody-Nolan's project manager, said he will review the district's strategic plan, academic status and annual reports to help determine what vision the district has for the new building.
He said students, staff and community members will be invited to participate in meetings to help determine how to create a space that meets the district's needs.
District officials have said the new building will house 1,200 students.
The new building will not have space for all the students expected by the 2016 school year, but Superintendent April Domine has said the district is working to find innovative ways to allow 300 to 400 juniors and seniors to pursue such off-campus learning opportunities as college classes and internships.
Also on Jan. 28, the school board approved a resolution to make funds available for pre-construction work before the Issue 50 bonds are sold and the debt is issued.
Interim Treasurer Peg Betts said she could not estimate how much the district might need to spend before the debt is issued.