By the end of a project to consolidate its two buildings, the Delaware Area Career Center's southern campus likely will more than double in size.

By the end of a project to consolidate its two buildings, the Delaware Area Career Center's southern campus likely will more than double in size.

Career center officials in January announced a plan to close the northern campus in Brown Township and move all operations to an expanded, renovated southern campus in Liberty Township by the 2018-19 school year. The career center serves Delaware County's four school districts, as well as students in Westerville and Worthington.

Officials initially projected the cost of the renovations and construction of about 100,000 additional square feet at the southern campus at about $35 million. The career center bought the 84,000-square-foot building off U.S. Route 23 just outside of Delaware city limits in 1995.

Career center Superintendent Mary Beth Freeman said a series of discussions with the consolidation project's architects and construction manager led officials to realize the revamped southern campus will need more lab and classroom space. She said the campus likely will be close to 225,000 square feet when work is completed in 2018.

"With the increase of square footage, you're now talking about an increase in money," she said.

Freeman said she could not yet give an estimate on the added expense to the overall project. Even though the cost will rise, Freeman said the career center will be able to pay for the work without requesting a tax increase.

"I will not go to the voters to ask for money for this (project)," she said.

Delaware County voters approved a 10-year renewal of the career center's 1.7-mill operating levy in November.

Freeman previously said the consolidation project will lead to savings in maintenance and operating costs over time. She said officials at all of the center's partner school districts -- except Big Walnut, which had no preference -- wanted to keep the southern building.

She said the districts will save between $47,000 and $56,000 yearly by cutting out bus routes to the northern campus off state Route 521 east of Delaware city limits.

"That's a lot of taxpayer dollars," she said.

Although the center will lose a campus, Freeman said the consolidation will not result in the loss of any of its current fields of study. She said the project actually will give the center space to offer additional programming.

"We know we're going to be expanding in the areas of health care, information technology and engineering," she said.

While no formal decision has been made, Freeman said the northern campus likely will be on the market after the revamped southern building opens to students.

"The board hasn't actually voted on anything, but it's safe to say they're going to want to sell it," she said.