This year promises to be a busy one for developments throughout Upper Arlington and for local schools.

This year promises to be a busy one for developments throughout Upper Arlington and for local schools.

One of the biggest developments is the revitalization of the Kingsdale Shopping Center. Continental Real Estate Companies and development partner, Upper Arlington resident Mark Catalano, have entered into contract to purchase Kingsdale from current owner, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Regency Centers.

The developers hope to close on the property early this year and begin construction immediately. The project is scheduled to open in early 2010.

Plans call for an expanded Giant Eagle supermarket that will increase its size from 56,000 to more than 97,000 square feet. Also included in the plan is up to 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, a fitness center and Class A office/medical space.

Due to open by fall 2009 is a new fire station at 3861 Reed Road, where the city broke ground Oct. 6. At an estimated cost of $6-million, the new station will replace the current, 10,000 square-foot facility, which was built in 1959 and houses six full-time staff. The new station will be "green" -- constructed with recycled building materials.

Plans for the new station call for a 27,000-square-foot, two-story building with four bays for fire trucks. The station will include a 50-person training room that will double as the city's emergency operations center, offices for police officers, 10 individual dorms for firefighters, a three-lane firing range and a museum to display the department's vintage fire truck.

A new parking lot will be designed to blend in with adjacent Reed Road Park.

On the parks and recreation front, the city plans to move earth and begin the development process at the 14.7-acre Sunny 95 Park this spring. The first phase of development at the park, adjacent to Greensview Elementary School, will include grading fields and the installation of a storm-water management system.

A long-term master site plan and architectural renderings unveiled Aug. 25 at the last in a series of public forums, show athletic fields, walkways and bike paths, a performing arts venue, picnic areas, a playground, a four-seasons shelter and passive natural areas. The city also plans to build a 66-car parking lot to accommodate park visitors.

The Upper Arlington City Schools also have several building projects under way, including an expansion at Barrington Elementary School.

The Barrington addition, estimated at $2-million, is being financed from the district's permanent improvement fund. The fund was created by 2 mills of the 6.2-mill schools levy voters approved in November 2007.

The first phase of construction, which began in September, is expected to last through the school year and will include an 8,500-square-foot addition and the renovation of 15,000 existing square feet.

District officials say the Barrington expansion will help alleviate overcrowding. Barrington Elementary currently has 730 students and is expected to peak at 780 students in the next few years, according to district projections.

Also this year, the district will embark on drafting a new five-year strategic plan. The planning team will be composed of teachers, support staff, administrators, board members and community members.

The planning team will meet Jan. 28-30 to draft the district's mission statement as well as education strategies for students in all grade levels. Action team leaders will schedule team meetings to be held from March through May, with a presentation of action plans to be presented to the core planning team on May 21.

Planning team members will review action plans and make suggestions on how to tweak or improve them.

The finished plan is expected to be presented to the board of education for approval prior to the start of the 2009-10 school year.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com