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BoE OKs plan for on-post school
Two-story designed passed
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A unanimous decision by the Liberty County Board of Education at a called meeting Thursday will give the school system its first two-story school. Board members hope the building’s structure will save money on the project, which is expected to cost about $20 million.
The other option was a one-story building with “finger” modules jutting out from a larger central structure.
“You can build a two-story school for under $100 a square foot and a one-story building is more like $120 a square foot,” said Alan Windom with Ra-lin and Associates Inc., one of the firms in the running for the construction management contract. “With a one-story building, you end up having more roof and foundation work.”
According to Windom’s calculations, the board would save approximately $2.7 million on its 135,000-square-foot plan, which will accommodate about 900 students.
The new school’s height was only the first decision, however, on a long list of construction questions that will come before the board this year. Final drawings haven’t been finalized and, because of wetland areas near the site, the placement of recreational fields and other amenities is still up for debate.
In a 5-to-1 vote, the board also decided to scratch Pope Construction Co., the top candidate for construction manager, and subsequently moved all other candidates up a notch and reopened consideration. A selection committee previously recommended the firm after reviewing many bids for the contract.
The next three bids are from Gilbane Building Co., Ra-Lin Construction and Parrish Construction in that order.
During discussion, before the motion passed, a few board members expressed opinions about the selection process, its outcome and what action the board should take now.
“In general, I just think it’s crazy for all these hours to be spent and then reject their recommendations,” said Becky Carter, the board member who voted against the action. “Maybe there’s a flaw in the process, but it’s just wrong.”
All the other board members agreed to go against the recommendation.
“I was disappointed in the rankings,” board member Carol Guyette said. “I feel it [the recommendation] was based on numbers rather than personal input from committee members.”
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