A former church sanctuary will debut as the new home for the board of school trustees of the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. on Monday night.

The school board will hold its first meeting at 7 at the Education Support Center at 2801 Grant Line Road.

“It’s a much better space for board meetings because people can see the screen and the technology is there,” said NA-FC Spokesman Dave Rarick of the new board room, which hosted a meeting earlier this week for One Southern Indiana.

Purchased in 2005 from Northside Christian Church for $2.1 million, the building houses much more than meeting space.

“People have a misconception that it’s an administrative building,” said Fred McWhorter II, the school system’s director of business. “It’s much more than that.”

The 54,000-square-foot building houses the Prosser School of Cosmotology, an adult learning center, food services and warehouse space.

Construction and renovations at the site have cost about $2.8 million, McWhorter said.

But the total price tag of the building — about $4.9 million — is a far cry from what the roughly $8 million a new building would have cost to construct, he said.

“By buying it used and renovating it we did it at literally half of what it would have cost to build it brand new,” McWhorter said.

The new facility — used in varying degree since 2005 — replaced the general-services building downtown, a rented space for the cosmotology school and the Reisz Adult Center as well as three warehouses.

Utility savings and other efficiencies in addition to rents no longer paid on other buildings have factored into what school officials estimate is a $250,000 a year savings in operating costs.

Board meetings and other community gatherings officials hope to host in the former sanctuary is sure to raise the profile of the former church building.

“The boardroom will not only be a great meeting place for the school board meetings, but we hope that the community will use the space for their meetings, gatherings, etc.,” Board President Rebecca Gardenour said. “It is there for the community to use.”

In addition to the regularly scheduled meeting, the school trustees will hold a public hearing on the 2008 budget Monday night.

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