The New Albany-Plain Local School District received approval June 10 from the city of New Albany to demolish two homes on New Albany-Condit Road, the same day the district held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new school building and related campus improvements requiring demolition of the homes.
The new building for 1,200 students will be between New Albany Middle School and the 2-5 elementary building and it and the site improvements will be funded by a $45.1 million, 2.59-mill bond issue voters approved last November.
The building is expected to open in the fall of 2014.
School district officials spoke at the New Albany Architectural Review Board meeting June 10 requesting permission to demolish the homes at 6495 and 6497 New Albany-Condit Road.
Adrienne Joly, New Albany's deputy community development director, said the ARB gave approval with the condition that the property be seeded when not in use.
As part of the project, district officials promised to improve traffic flow on the school campus. In the morning and afternoon, when parents are picking students up or dropping them off, traffic backs up on local streets.
Plans designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff, a company brought into the project by Moody-Nolan architects of Columbus, recommend closing the middle and high school bus loop on Dublin-Granville Road, leaving a gated emergency access only.
The district also would close the road on the east side of New Albany Middle School and change the road west of the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts to accommodate two-way traffic for parents to drop off and pick up students.
Parents would continue to use the high school parking lot to drop off and pick up, and that parking lot would be expanded to the south.
The road north of the 2-5 elementary gymnasium would be closed and a new road would be built opposite to Chatham Green Drive. Parents also could use the elementary bus loop north of the administrative office to drop off and pick up their children.
All buses for all grades would use a bus loop accessed from Kardules Fields Way.
The project requires the district to remove one student parking lot. A new parking lot would be built south of the high school tennis courts that would be accessed by a temporary road.
The school board agreed May 20 to move the high school tennis courts to the north, if needed, to accommodate the new student parking lot and to build the temporary road to access the new parking lot.
The board also agreed to relocate the varsity baseball, varsity and junior varsity softball fields from Swickard Woods east to vacant land east of Swickard Woods Boulevard and south of the K-1 elementary and Plain Township Aquatic Center parking lots.
During the groundbreaking ceremony June 10, the district celebrated the many families who have had generations attend New Albany-Plain Local schools and what the new building represents: a commitment to reinventing education, said Superintendent April Domine.
John McClelland, who chaired last year's levy campaign, told the 200 in attendance, "It's not just about the bricks and mortar. It's what happens inside the building that matters."
McClelland said he has attended many school board meetings in the past year and a half and has seen the academic achievements, which he called 'incredible.'
"As I've spent time working on the facility advisory committee and the campaign, I've gotten to know the staff," McClelland said. "There's a commitment to excellence. They care about our kids. There's a passion for their profession.
"As long as we continue to attract and keep administrators and teachers like them, whose priorities are our kids, we will continue to have success."