Officials with Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools want district residents to have a say in designing their new elementary school.

A series of neighborhood community meetings will be held in the library at Gahanna Middle School South, 349 Shady Spring Drive.

Meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21; Thursday, Aug. 23; and Aug. 29, with the purpose of engaging the community in the design phase.

"We are excited to begin the design phase of our new building as we ask for valuable input from our parents and community members," said Steve Barrett, district superintendent. "We want our residents and families to be a part of the conversation.

"We want to know what is important to them when it comes to the design and feel of the learning space in their neighborhood."

He said district leaders are eager to work with neighbors to design a building that is pleasing aesthetically, environmentally sound and offers an innovative learning space for students.

"These will be interactive meetings," Barrett said. "The community will be encouraged to share ideas, sketch concepts and make requests of our architects, who will be present to gather information and answer questions."

The community will work with Triad Architects personnel, including Brent Foley, Triad partner, and Dan Mayer, project manager.

The 90-minute meetings will include an overview and introduction Barrett will provide, followed by a presentation and roundtable discussions led by Triad.

Residents are encouraged to attend at least one of the three meetings, especially if they reside in proximity to Gahanna Middle School South, near the new school site.

The new elementary school will be made possible after the May 8 approval of a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill permanent operating levy.

The cost to the owner of a house with a market value of $100,000 will be an additional $16 per month, or $192.50 per year.

District treasurer Kristine Blind said the same homeowner currently pays $112.53 per month, or $1,350.36 per year, based on the district's effective tax rate.

The combined tax issue was the result of a 2017 master facilities plan that was meant to address overcrowding and the need to update school facilities, Barrett said.

The new elementary school will be built on district-owned property on Helmbright Drive.

It will replace Lincoln Elementary School.

The bond will cover the cost of renovating restrooms, media centers and classrooms in the district's K-8 buildings.

"This is our first series of community meetings giving the Gahanna community an opportunity to discuss the design phase of our new learning space," said Judy Hengstebeck, the school district's communications coordinator. "We plan to periodically offer a different series of meetings as plans are finalized and construction begins."

She said the three community sessions were scheduled to accommodate as many people as possible and provide convenience. Information presented at each meeting will be basically the same, according to Hengstebeck.

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@ThisWeekMarla