It doesn't have a name yet, a mascot, a principal or even school colors.
But Wichita's newest high school — the first to be built by the district in more than 30 years — moved one crucial step closer to completion Monday night.
The Wichita school board approved a $31 million contract with The Law Co. to build the new 800-student high school in the northeast part of the district near Bel Aire.
The project is one of the largest parts of a $370 million bond issue voters approved in 2008.
Never miss a local story.
"We're very excited to get working on this project and to see construction starting," said Shannon Bohm, a partner with Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, which designed the school.
The school, set to open in 2012, is intended to help alleviate crowding at Heights High School and accommodate growth in and around Bel Aire. It will be built on a 100-acre plot near 53rd North and Rock Road.
Architects and board members were pleased with the construction bids submitted for the project. The lowest was well below the $37 million estimated in the bond issue plan.
"Our bids were right where we wanted them to be, so that's great," said architect Kenton Cox.
Board members got their first official look at the floor plan and artists' renderings of the new school, which will have a red brick facade with huge banks of windows. Among the highlights:
* A commons area and wide "main street" hallway, both sized for a much larger school. The school is expected to have only 800 students at first, but could grow to up to 1,200.
* A 900-seat auditorium with ramp and stadium seating. Adjacent vocal, band and stage craft rooms will have plentiful access to the stage.
* A two-story academic wing with science and engineering labs, a ceramics room and dozens of classrooms.
* An athletics and physical education wing with restrooms that will be accessible from a football stadium slated to be built just south of the building. The stadium project will be bid separately, Bohm said.
* A main gymnasium, surrounded by a walking track, with seating for 2,400.
* A wrestling room, weight room, pool and locker rooms.
Board member Lanora Nolan asked what colors would be used. Bohm replied: neutral tones such as tan — at least for now — with aluminum-colored frames around the exterior windows.
"The decorator in me is dying to know what the school colors will be and how that will be employed," Nolan said. "Because we have to buy tile, and those things matter."
Building new high schools and K-8 schools in the northeast and southeast quadrants means the district needs to redraw school attendance boundaries.
Many of the schools on the east side of the district could be affected, but school leaders said it's too early to tell how many boundaries will be changed. It's still unclear which middle schools will send students to the new northeast high school.
Superintendent John Allison said he plans to present a timeline to the board within weeks that will address how the school will be named, its principal chosen, boundaries set and other decisions.
"I just can't wait to see what the mascot is and what color the tiles will be," Nolan said.