Halifax County Public Schools facilities review committee members visited Louisa County High School on Thursday to see the work of English Construction and Grimm + Parker, according to Scott Worner, interim director of secondary instruction.

English Construction and Grimm + Parker submitted a PPEA proposal (Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act) along with Branch Builds coupled with RRMM Architects for possible design and build of Halifax County High School.

“It is all contingent upon funding,” said Worner speaking of future plans for the high school.

The committee is set to review Auburn High School in Montgomery County on Thursday, Sept. 19, to see the work of Branch Builds.

Branch Builds was in charge of construction of Auburn High School in 2013 along with Blacksburg High School and Auburn Middle School, which cost roughly $107.5 million. The building footprint was 595,000 square feet.

Grimm + Parker took on reconstructing Louisa County High School, a 273,000 square foot building for roughly 1,750 students, after the 2011 earthquake that left it and other Louisa County schools in need of repair.

The roughly $54 million school was partially funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Moseley Architects, who chose not to submit a PPEA, previously submitted a proposal of high school rebuild with 262,500 square footage in mind, and an enrollment of 1,527 students. The projected cost was just shy of $100 million.

While the committee is visiting schools completed by the firms, they are preparing a detailed stage PPEA proposal with a deadline set for 2 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Worner said the committee would receive “more details about what they can provide our county.”

They’re working with the committee to learn some things wanted in a new high school as well as items not wanted such as their desire to no longer want 55 exterior exits, want a building with only two to three levels and to incorporate career and technical education courses with academic courses.

The companies must follow 11 PPEA guidelines for format of their submission of the detailed stage including a topographic map of a proposed location, any public utility facilities that will be crossed by the project, a plan for securing any necessary property and a detailed list of all firms needed for design, construction and their guarantees and warranties.

The guidelines also require a “total life-cycle cost” or/and the proposed start date along with anticipated commitment of all parties, equity, debt and other financing mechanisms and a schedule of project revenues and costs.

The life-cycle cost analysis should include a detailed analysis of the projected return, rate of return, expected life of facility and estimated annual operating expenses.

The guidelines also require a detailed discussion about user fees or rates and “identification of any known government support or opposition or general public support or opposition for the project” which should be shown through “resolution of official bodies, minutes of meetings, letters or other official communications.”

The PPEA guidelines also require infrastructure development plans or steps required for acceptance into such plans and “explanation of how the proposed project would impact local developmental plans of each affected jurisdiction.”

The firms also must identify their executive management, officers and directors as well as any conflict of interest or “other disabilities that may impact Halifax County Public Schools’ consideration of proposal,” including the “identification of any persons known to the proposer who would be obligated to disqualify themselves from participation in any transaction” connected to the project.

The school system also may reasonably request additional material for the detailed stage.

After reviewing the detailed stage proposals, the committee is expected to recommend a firm to Halifax County School Board in November.

Once a firm has been selected, the site will then be confirmed, stakeholder’s input will be compiled for the development of the conceptual design, and a timeline for construction will be developed.

The school board is set to meet the second week in November.

The week prior, the public will have the chance to vote on a referendum that authorizes Halifax County to levy a general retail sales tax not to exceed 1% to provide revenue solely for capital projects for construction or renovation of schools in the county.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com