The Union R-XI School Board may vote as early as Wednesday on an architectural firm that could design a new school and facility upgrades, according to Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold.

The school district announced a special board meeting this Wednesday, Oct. 11, where three architectural firms will be interviewed.

The architects will be tasked with designing spaces to help overcrowding issues in the district’s elementary schools.

Weinhold said after an architect is approved by the board, the district officials will meet privately to discuss the district’s needs. He said after that the firm will be present at a future facilities meeting with the public. That meeting has not yet been scheduled.

The board narrowed its options to three firms at a workshop session late last week. The three firms are HTK Architects, located in Topeka, Kan., and Hoener Associates Architects and Ittner Architects, both headquartered in St. Louis.

Ittner Architects previously helped design a facilities upgrade on the high school in 2007.

Each firm will have 45 minutes to present to the board and 15 minutes will be allotted for questions from the board.

At the district’s last facilities meeting, held in late September, Weinhold presented what he described as “soft numbers,” or early projections on what it could cost to build an elementary school on the district’s land near East Central College and construct a sixth-grade center addition on an existing school or property.

A K-5 or K-6 setting at the district-owned land near East Central College, which is currently used as a farm by the Union FFA, could cost in the range of $12.7-16.3 million depending on square footage. A sixth grade center could cost any where from $3.8-4.9 million.

Together, Weinhold said, those projects could help solve the overcrowding problem at Union.

The total project, according to Weinhold’s early estimate, could cost $16.5-21.3 million.

The board could approve a partnership after the interviews are completed.

No final decisions have been made.