Notes from school board

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Architect firm chosen for facilities plan

By Brandon Mattingly

The Washington County School Board listened to individual presentations from three companies before last week’s meeting in search of an organization to fill the architect void for the facilities plan, which has yet to be finalized.

Ross Tarrant Architects, which is currently working with the district on the new high school project, was awarded the contract with a low bid of a maximum cost of $6,700 for 223,150 sq. ft. at three cents per square foot.

The other bids were Alt32, a company out of Lexington, at $13,043.54 for 343,251 sq. ft. (3.8 cents per square foot) and Sherman Carter Barnhart, a Louisville-based company, at $16,803.30 for 336,066 sq. ft. (five cents per square foot).

Ross Tarrant had the benefit of excluding the new high school from its evaluation process due to having an existing understanding of the building, contributing to the significantly lower total area, as well as a lower per-square-foot cost.

“The reason we want to reduce our fee is because we’re familiar with your facilities, but also that we strongly value our working relationship here. We’ve been with you guys for several years and we want to continue working with you guys for many more years,” said Kelly Ives of Ross Tarrant Architects.

Still, the district could save even more money by sticking with the company in the future.

“If you do choose to work with us on the facilities plan and then elect to continue working with us on your next large construction project, as long as that’s within four years of the facilities plan, we would actually credit our $6,700 fee back to you and essentially do the facilities plan at no cost,” Ives said.

Wedding reception request
A request from Aaron Moore and Daphne White to host a wedding reception in the North Washington School gym on May 10, which was tabled at a previous meeting, was taken off the table and discussed last week.

The request was tabled for board members to research the district’s policy, which, as it turns out, does not specify guidelines for hosting such events.

Superintendent Robin Cochran suggested a required certificate of insurance and liability at a minimum of $1 million with a set fee in the range of $1,000, which compares to fees at nearby facilities, but warned that agreeing to host those types of events could cause competition within the community.

“I’m not sure that we want to compete with other community properties, such as the Mackville Community Center and other organizations that in order to keep those buildings open, this is what they do,” she said.

Other board members shared concerns over potential damage to the gym floor, as well as difficulties in closing off areas of the building that wouldn’t be accessible to guests.

Despite concerns, members of the board acknowledged being uncomfortable outright denying the request. However, they also pointed out that determining a policy would not be an immediate process, and that they didn’t want to keep the wedding party on hold.

“I wouldn’t want to keep them waiting either. May is right around the corner,” Julity Nance said.

“We’re doing them an injustice if we don’t vote on it. We’re hardly in a position, from all the things I’ve heard, to approve it,” Pat Clements added.

The request was taken off the table and died from a lack of motion.

Make-up days
Winter weather has wreaked havoc on the area over the last few weeks, which has led to numerous school days being canceled. Members of the community have been inquiring about how far back that might push the end of the 2014 spring semester and graduation. Cochran said they’re looking into potential dates, but that it’s still too early to make any sort of determination.

“I’m getting a lot of questions about the calendar from parents, ‘When is the last day for graduation?’ and all of that. Chad (Willis) was working on that today, and it’s just too early to tell,” she said. “We’re not to the end of May yet, but it’s quickly going to be the end of May.”