It is not yet time to receive public input on the design of Halifax County High School.

That was the message interim supervisor of secondary instruction Scott Worner brought to Halifax County School Board when they met Monday evening in Halifax.

“When a firm is selected to design a building or renovation of a building, that charrette brings in all the stakeholders including the community, teachers, students,” said Worner.

His remarks came after county citizen Cheryl Watts had presented comments at the beginning of the school board meeting regarding the public feeling left out of the process.

She warned the school board the November referendum may be “doomed for failure,” because the public sees it as “just another courthouse. They don’t want anything from us but our money,” said Watts.

The referendum 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 Halifax County.

The interim supervisor said he understood why the process was misconceived.

“We are not yet at the point where we can glean the public input, because we have not yet recommended to the board a firm to move forward with the project,” said Worner.

“Selection of the firm is being proactive to the funding mechanism that will be taking place at the referendum,” he added.

In the meantime, the facilities committee is moving forward with the two firms who submitted proposals, Branch Builds coupled with RRMM Architects and English Construction coupled with Grimm + Parker.

Worner, speaking on behalf of the facilities committee, said they have decided to proceed to the detail phase with a competing proposal.

After reviewing the proposals, the committee had five options to choose from, and the interim supervisor said they chose that option because they only had two firms submit a PPEA.

The Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 “enables public bodies to partner with private entities to bring private sector expertise to bear on public projects and encourage innovative approaches to financing construction and renovation.”

The facilities committee has recently had two meetings to allow the firms to “introduce themselves, to explain the PPEA process to the committee, and to show their credentials and ability to lead the project.”

Worner also said they’re waiting for the two firms to get back in touch with the facilities committee before a deadline would be set.

“We’re going through the process,” he said.

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