The New Albany-Plain Local school board on May 20 approved the interior schematic design for a new school building and agreed to change the traffic pattern on the entire campus as part of the building project.

The New Albany-Plain Local school board on May 20 approved the interior schematic design for a new school building and agreed to change the traffic pattern on the entire campus as part of the building project.

The 150,000-square-foot building for 1,200 students will be located between the 2-5 elementary building and New Albany Middle School, with corridors connecting to both buildings.

Michael Sawyers, chief of operations and strategic development, said the interior schematic drawings were reviewed by the facilities advisory committee and school board earlier this month, and they have not changed.

The building and site improvements will be funded by a $45.1-million, 2.59-mill bond issue voters approved last November.

District officials expect to break ground in June and finish construction in the fall of 2014.

As part of the project, the district has promised to improve traffic flow on the campus. In the morning and afternoon, when parents are picking students up or dropping them off, traffic backs up on local streets.

Howard Wood, vice president of Parsons Brinckerhoff, a company brought into the project by Moody-Nolan architects of Columbus, told the school board many of the intersections on the district campus are failing.

He recommended closing the middle and high school bus loop on Dublin-Granville Road, leaving a gated emergency access only.

He said the district needs to close the road on the east side of New Albany Middle School, as well, 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 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.

Because one of the student parking lots will be removed, Sawyers said, the district needs to build a new parking lot south of the tennis courts and will have to build a temporary road to access the lot.

The drawings shown May 20 would add 827 parking spaces to the campus.

Superintendent April Domine said district officials meet weekly with the city of New Albany to talk about the project, and about future road improvements that would help both school and city traffic.

The board agreed May 20 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.

Sawyers said the field relocation would not cause any delays in athletics events.

The board agreed to move the tennis courts to the north, if needed, to accommodate a new parking lot and to build a temporary road to access the new parking lot.

The district will continue to lease fields in Swickard Woods from the city of New Albany, possibly improving those for use as practice fields, Sawyers said.