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Caroline school officials could hire architect in December

Posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm

MILFORD—An architectural firm could be hired in December to start designing the expansion and renovation of Caroline High School and Madison Elementary School, a school official said.

Caroline voters on Nov. 5 overwhelmingly gave the county government the green light to borrow $26.3 million to expand and upgrade the two schools. This is money taxpayers will have to pay back over several decades. Officials want to get the work underway in a timely fashion, said School Superintendent Greg Killough. Close to $21 would be for Caroline High and $4 million would go toward Madison. The rest will be for administration of the school bond.

During its Nov. 11 meeting, the Caroline County School Board voted unanimously to distribute a request for proposals (RFP) to architectural firms. Along with the request for a price, an RFP will typically solicit company information and history, financial information, technical ability, an estimated completion period and customer references.

The School Board Capital Improvement Program Committee (CIP) will examine proposals by architectural firms and then make a recommendation to the School Board, Killough said. “I’d like that to happen before we go on the Christmas break,” he said in an interview. The next School Board meeting is Dec. 9, but a special called meeting could be the one in which the CIP committee makes a recommendation for an architectural firm.

Once an architectural firm is in place, “we’ll have meetings with teachers at the two schools and take a deeper look into the needs of the schools and do revisions,” said Killough, who has been a principal and assistant principal at three other schools around Virginia that were undergoing expansions and renovations.

The board and architectural firm will probably examine the information from the teachers, administrators and others in January, February and March, Killough said.  Final drawings would be completed in time for the board to invite contactors to bid in April or possibly March. On that schedule, construction work would start in June.

Work at the high school is likely to be completed by August 2016. Madison’s work will probably be finished by August 2015. “I would love for both to be finished in August 2015,” Killough said, but much more extensive work is scheduled for the high school.

“We’ll see more construction impact on high school students in the fall,” Killough noted. “There may be sections or rooms blocked off at times. We’ll try to minimize that as much as possible. Concern with safety and the well-being of students will be paramount as we try to minimize disruptions.” When work at the schools calls for shutting off water or electricity, that will be scheduled for nights or weekends.

Construction wouldn’t affect after-school activities, Killough said.

The student parking lot at Caroline High is large and will probably be used to store building supplies and equipment.

“What we saw at Bowling Green Elementary was that the construction company didn’t meet the time line,” the superintendent said. “They missed all the deadlines and it created a lot hardship.”

The general contractor for Bowling Green Elementary’s  expansion and renovation was the lowest bidder. Killough said the School Board doesn’t have to chose the lowest bidder, but can base the decision on other characteristics, as well, such as experience, references and other completed projects.

He also said the School Board could opt to hire its own subcontractors for certain components of the project, such as earthwork. That would safe the county money that could be used to accomplish even more at the schools.

Renovation plans for the 35-year-old Caroline High include: replace the roof system, replacement windows, renovate the old library into classrooms, renovate the old administration area into classrooms, replace the entire HVAC system, replace all lighting, replace the entire suspended tile ceiling, new electrical service upgrades as required, new intercom/communications system, new paint throughout, locker room and restroom renovation/plumbing upgrades and new light and sound system for the auditorium.

Building additions at CHS would include: a new entrance and administration area, a new media center (library), new 14,000-square-foot gymnasium, new classrooms and three new vocational labs. The school will get a net gain of 16 new classrooms.

Plans call for these athletic facility improvements: upgrade bleachers, re-surface the asphalt track, relocate the long/high jump, restroom facility renovation, expand and renovate the field house and upgrade the athletic fields.

Proposed new additions and renovation for Madison include: construct a new secure entrance with an expanded lobby into the school, expand the cafeteria dining area, add four new classrooms, two new computer labs, a new media center, construct a new paved bus drop off/pick up area and pave the parking lot.