The New Albany-Plain Local school board and the superintendent's facilities advisory committee on April 9 reviewed the first draft design plan for the district's new building.
The school board also voted unanimously to have Superintendent April Domine negotiate with the Corna Kokosing Construction Co. on a contract to become the building's construction manager.
Kevin Harrison, principal with the Harrison Planning Group of Columbus, said the construction manager would be responsible for hiring all contractors, overseeing the work and managing all costs within a budget.
Current plans are for a two-story, 150,000-square-foot building between New Albany Middle School and the 2-5 elementary building. The Georgian-style building would have three north-to-south-oriented wings.
Domine divided participants into two small groups to list strengths and weaknesses of the plan, ideas to enhance the building and the top five components of the plan.
Their suggestions will be used to finalize the building concept.
"This is one tool that we have at our disposal to get us closer to our mission and vision," said school board President Laura Kohler. "It's an interesting space that absolutely supports what our mission and vision is."
The district's vision is "to become the leader in reinventing education" and its mission is to "ensure the development of high achieving, ethical, self-directed and intellectually curious citizens of the world."
The groups said the draft design plan's sense of community, versatility and flexibility, central busing options and energy efficiency were strengths but had questions about other aspects, such as food preparation.
Brent Wilcox, project manager for Moody-Nolan, the Columbus architecture firm that presented the first draft design, said food would prepped in other building kitchens and served at one of several serving stations in the new building.
Domine said using other buildings' kitchens might be the most economical way to prepare the food.
Students also would be able to eat throughout the new building rather than in a single cafeteria.
Domine said by allowing the students to eat in smaller groups, the experience would not be a "herd-like, institution-like approach to feeding children."
Domine said the next step is to work with faculty and students and determine the best use of the new building before deciding what grades and classes should use it.
District officials hope to break ground this spring and open the building by the fall of 2014.
The building and site improvements will be funded by a $45.1 million, 2.59-mill bond issue local voters approved last November.