Halifax County School Board will soon begin interviewing architects for a new Halifax County High School.

The school board unanimously agreed to reject the PPEA (Public-Private Partnership Act) Monday evening and interview Moseley Architects, RRMM Architects and Grimm + Parker Architects, following a motion from ED-7 trustee Keith McDowell and a second from ED-8 trustee Walter Potts.

Branch Builds, along with RRMM Architects, LPA Consulting Engineers and Timmons Group submitted an unsolicited PPEA on March 30 after the school board entered into a pre-construction service contract with the company.

Also in 2019, Grimm + Parker Architects with English Construction and Moseley Architects submitted proposals.

PPEA, or Public-Private Partnership Act, is one of three options of construction delivery the school board had been considering.

Now they will be choosing from design-build or construction manager-at-risk.

At an August retreat, those with Branch Builds warned the school board that if they did not move forward with PPEA, design-build or construction manager-at-risk, they would essentially be “starting over.”

After interviewing and selecting an architect, the architect will then help guide them through the process, said superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg.

Prior to the school board’s Monday meeting, Halifax County Board of Supervisors agreed to provide $105 towards the high school project.

The school board also has $4 million in ESSER funds that can be used toward the project, to bring the funds up to $109.

Branch Builds previously estimated that a high school with new athletic fields would cost $117,652,174, with the actual cost of the school building being $85 million of that. The remaining costs include new athletic fields, parking lot, furnishings, etc.

The new high school could also be the future home of a Henrietta Lacks statue if the public is acceptable to the idea.

The Henrietta Lacks Committee recently presented three possible locations, the new Halifax County High School, Edmunds Park and Constitution Square, as possible sites to erect a Henrietta Lacks statue to supervisors.

The school board unanimously approved putting the new high school as a possible site on a survey.

Garner-Coleman made a motion to that effect, and Shotwell seconded the motion.

The ED-3 trustee, who serves on the Henrietta Lacks committee, explained that the committee would like to survey the public to see which location they prefer and wanted to seek the school board’s approval to put the high school on the survey.

The president of the local chapter of the NAACP Barbara Coleman-Brown also gave a presentation to the board on Lacks.

Lacks, an African-American Roanoke native who lived in Clover before her cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line, died of cervical cancer in 1951.

Coleman-Brown called Lacks a medical miracle who should unify Halifax County.

Ashley Conner is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at aconner@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com