Chapel Hill-Carrboro school officials plan to ask county commissioners for three quarters of a million dollars to jump start planning for major renovations at three schools.

“We’re recommending that the board consider a request to county commissioners for $750,000 in planning money, to begin the process of designing the projects so that we’re shovel ready if and when the bond referendum occurs,” said Assistant Superintendent Todd LoFrese.

Administrators are hoping to delay the need for new schools by instead expanding some of the older, smaller schools in the district, but LoFrese told the board the timing of the renovations will be key.

“The intention behind this whole recommendation is to delay new schools,” said LoFrese. “We can only do that if we begin creating capacity now, because the district is going to grow and before you know it we’re going to be at a position where we’re unable to phase projects, unable to move forward with some of these capacity-building recommendations at our elementary schools specifically. It would basically be too late.”

County commissioners have begun discussing a possible bond package to help pay for the multi-million dollar plan, but that may not make it to the ballot until 2016.

The school board voted unanimously on Thursday to request $750,000 from the county to cover planning and design for three projects.

The money would pay for architectural design and preparation to expand Ephesus Elementary and Seawell Elementary, and renovate Lincoln Center to create a preschool facility.

If approved, the money would be an advance from county’s Capital Investment Plan. The school board will discuss the proposal at a joint meeting with county commissioners on April 29.