The New Albany-Plain Local School District received good news last week when officials learned a new parking lot north of the 2-5 elementary building would be open when classes resume Aug. 25.
The lot includes about 200 parking spaces and will be used for parents to drop off students in grades 4-5 and students who will attend classes in the new 1-8 building, district spokesman Patrick Gallaway said.
"This is the designated lot for dropping off or picking up students in grades 4 and 5 and all students in the new learning facility," Gallaway said.
The district has been changing access and parking on campus this summer in conjunction with construction of the 1-8 building.
It originally was known as the 2-8 building, but the grade-level range for the building was expanded to include first grade after a community discussion held in May, Gallaway said.
In addition, he said, a central space on the first floor of the building will include small laboratories that "will provide opportunities for student across the campus (in) grades K-12."
District officials plan to open 12 classrooms Aug. 25 for some classes in grades 2-5. The rest of the building is expected to open in January.
Gallaway said when the entire facility opens, "staff from across the district will be invited to experience the space for themselves (and) bring their class to the space to try it out, in a manner of speaking."
District officials recently closed the high school tennis court parking lot north of the middle school gymnasium and cafeteria. It will become part of the construction zone and will be accessible to construction traffic only.
Students and parents will have to use the high school parking lot to access the tennis courts this fall.
The high school tennis parking lot is expected to reopen in January.
Gallaway said parents already are noticing some changes to the high school lot. Parents are directed south once they enter the lot off Fodor Road and vehicles loop around the parking spaces to allow parents to drop off students.
Motorists cannot drive around the small loop to the gymnasium doors and back out, Gallaway said.
The lot will include designated parking spaces for people visiting the welcome center, which will open on the west entrance to the high school gymnasium and serve as the office for district families to obtain information and register students in any grade.
In addition, Gallaway said, the middle school parking lot between the school building and the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts will open by the start of school. It includes parking for staff and parents and a drop-off area for second- and third-graders.
Parents dropping off middle school students will use the same lot as second- and third-grade parents, though they will drive past the east entrance to the middle school and stop at the stop sign on Dublin-Granville Road.
Gallaway said the district plans to communicate all new parking and drop-off requirements to parents before the start of the school year.
He also said parents are encouraged to send their students to school on the bus.
"We highly encourage the use of our transportation system for the safest travel to and from school," he said. "Our drivers are caring, compassionate and highly competent and take extreme care in transporting the most valuable resource we have at the district -- our students."