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Board pulls back construction work
On-post middle school to be delayed
Lily Baker - photo by Courier file photo
During it’s called meeting Monday morning, the Liberty County Board of Education voted four to two to reject all the architecture bids for both the new middle school on Fort Stewart and for the ancillary projects at Bradwell Institute, putting both ventures on hold and disrupting the original timeline.
“My recommendation is that we start this process again because my No. 1 concern is that the selection committee wasn’t diverse,” Chairwoman Lily Baker said. “This committee didn’t represent our community.”
The committee is in charge of sorting through bids and picking the top three based on qualifications and references. The board then votes to select the best candidate.
“Originally, there were five members of the committee,” Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer said.  “Mr. Roger Osborne, director of facilities and maintenance; Dr. Cheryl Conley, deputy superintendent who supervises maintenance and operations among other responsibilities; Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent who handles finances, contracts, etc; Dwight Watts, HAVC manager for LCSS; and Mr. Bobby Ryon, CenturyTel representative and city councilman.”  
“Mr. Ryon was asked to serve and represent the community’s interests.  He has experience working with both governmental and private businesses.   He reviewed all of the written proposals but was unable to sit in on the oral presentations because of previous commitments,” Scherer said. “The first three were there because they were approved as part of the process by the board on Jan. 13, 2009.”
 Board members Verdell Jones, Charlie Frasier, Harold Woods and Carol Guyett all voted to scratch the bids and start the process over again. Board members Becky Carter and Marcia Anderson voted to continue with the projects.
Before the decision to delay, the selection committee picked its three top architects for each project. Representatives from BRPH (top architectural candidate for the middle school) and Altman and Barrett (top candidate for ancillary projects) visited the board at its March 17 meeting to field questions from members.
“I just don’t think we need to get bogged down with the details,” Becky Carter said Monday. “For the kids, I think we need to continue.”
During the meeting, Scherer told the board that if the motion was passed, it would be the final straw in postponing the fall 2010 opening date, which coincides with the 5th BCT and their families coming to Fort Stewart.
“We haven’t heard anything about the delay,” Fort Stewart representative Kevin Larson said. However, Larson said representatives from Fort Stewart are set to meet with board members later this week.
Baker also pushed to re-evaluate the selections because she was concerned that some of the other
architects listed as possibilities had their main offices out of town and that Lott and Barber (one of the three firms for the middle school) hadn’t built a K-12 school since the 1990s.
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