Columbus-based Triad Architects will help the Gahanna-Jefferson School District to design the new Lincoln Elementary School, and the process for selecting a construction firm is underway.

After a competitive interview process in September, Superintendent Steve Barrett said, the district selected Triad Architects to help design the new building.

"We were impressed with Triad's innovative approach to design and understanding that building the new Lincoln is a watershed moment in the history of our school district," Barrett said. "We are confident Triad will help us build a unique state-of-the-art school building that will energize teaching and learning for a long time to come."

He said interviews were scheduled Oct. 15 with several local construction management firms.

Barrett said the construction manager would work with the architects to build and manage the process from start to finish.

"Careful consideration is given to find a construction manager who can not only successfully complete the project but do so in a timely manner and within budget," he said.

Gahanna-Jefferson Business Director Scott Lofton said he's confident and excited about the construction firms that have shown an interest in the project.

"We look forward to working through the process and potentially starting site construction in the spring of 2019," he said. "After the interviews are complete, we hope to have a construction-manager recommendation to the board of education for the Oct. 18 board meeting."

Near the end of this month, Lofton said, the district will begin the schematic design phase, during which rough sketches and basic diagrams will turn into more-formal plans that will be reviewed by teachers and staff.

"Generally speaking, it takes about 18 months to design and 18 months to build a new school," Lofton said. "We told our community we would build and open the new Lincoln in the fall of 2021.

"However, if there is an opportunity for us to accelerate the project and open a bit sooner, we would love to do so," he said.

The new elementary school has been made possible thanks to voter approval of a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill permanent operating levy that was on the May 8 ballot.

The cost to the owner of a house with a market value of $100,000 will be an additional $16 per month, or $192 per year.

District Treasurer Kristine Blind said the same homeowner currently pays $112.53 per month, or $1,350 per year, based on the district's effective tax rate.

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

The new elementary will be built on district-owned property on Helmbright Drive, next to Gahanna Middle School South.

It will replace Lincoln Elementary School.

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

Barrett said more than 66 residents attended meetings in August to be part of the design process for the new school.

"Our residents showed up to the meetings with an open mind and with some valid neighborhood concerns that we want to take into consideration," he said. "Ideas about where to place the building on the site, parking, traffic flow and aesthetics are all important to our neighbors, and we want to incorporate as many of their suggestions as possible."

Barrett said the community has invested a great deal into the new school, and in the end, he hopes it can be a source of pride for the district.