Halifax County School Board members learned more about the process for building a replacement facility for Halifax County High School when they met last month in Halifax, as they listened to school superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg outline procedures for school construction under a state law that permits general contractors and architects to partner in an effort to streamline the building process.
Lineburg reviewed procurement details of the Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 that trustees adopted last December explaining the facility advisory and review committee received an “unsolicited” PPEA proposal for a new high school facility in May from Roanoke firm Branch Builds, the same firm that renovated the middle school here 12 years ago.
Halifax County School officials also were told to expect at least one additional architect’s proposal for construction of a new HCHS.
Firms had until July 15 to submit competing proposals, Lineburg told school board members last month. At that time, the facilities review committee had plans to reconvene after the proposal deadline to review all proposals including the original request for proposals and make its final recommendation to the school board at the Aug. 12 meeting, Lineburg said.
He pointed out the PPEA process could speed up the school construction timeline by nine to 12 months.
Branch Builds, who paid a $10,000 fee to the school division to have its package considered, has joined forces with RRMM Architects, one of three architectural firms the facility committee is considering to design and construct the new school.
The other two Virginia architectural firms under consideration include Grimm and Parker and Moseley Architects, the firm that conducted the study of the current high school for the school board before estimating it would cost $88 million to renovate and upgrade the high school and $99 million to build a new facility.
The facility review committee selected Moseley Architects, RRMM Architect and Grimm and Parker out of the seven firms that submitted proposals on various school building concepts as well as their credentials for being able to guide school officials in the best direction for Halifax County High School.
Lineburg has noted a sense of urgency for the board to select a builder in time for a plan to be presented to voters in November when a referendum will be held on whether to approve a 1-cent local sales tax that can be used to upgrade the high school.
School board members working with county supervisors must agree on and formulate a high school initiative by August in time for it to be placed on the November ballot.
When the school board meets Monday night at the Mary Bethune Office Complex in Halifax, Scott Worner, interim director of secondary education, is expected to lead a facility discussion and update school board members on the latest plans and proposals.
In other action Monday night, school board members are expected to take the following actions:
• Listen to a transportation management plan presented by Dwight Elam, transportation director;
• Learn more from Lineburg about a sight-seeing trip for third and fourth graders who recently traveled to Washington, D.C.;
• Get informed about a three-year teacher turnover trend from Dr. Valdivia Hall, assistant superintendent;
• Listen to comments from Lineburg, chairman Joe Gasperini and hear remarks from vice-chairman Sandra Garner-Coleman concerning the upcoming Back-2-School Expo slated for Saturday, Aug. 3, at Halifax County High School;
• Approve the consent agenda that includes approving minutes from the June 10 meeting, payment of bills, use of facilities and a Virginia School Board Association policy revision;
• Hear an analysis from Robert Aylor, interim finance director, on the lease financing/purchase of school buses;
• Consider making revisions to the code of student conduct and parent notifications after hearing a presentation from Jeff Davis, student services/accountability director;
•Consider interscholastic program random drug testing after hearing a presentation from Davis;
• Select a delegate and alternate to attend the 2019 VSBA Annual Convention;
• Receive citizen comments; and
• Go into closed session to discuss personnel before adjourning.
Prior to the school board meeting Monday, school board members are scheduled to hold a work session at 5 p.m. in the school board conference room to hear transportation vendor presentations.
At their June meeting, school board members tabled action on a schedule for consideration for replacing the school’s bus fleet over a seven-year period with a projected interest rate of 3.04 percent.
However, before school board members vote on approving the proposal, ED-7 trustee Monty Lowery suggested representatives from three bus makers be offered an opportunity to make presentations to the board at its July meeting.
“This is a monumental thing we’ll be doing,” Lowery said.
Lineburg agreed saying, “We can listen, but we don’t have to make a decision on the spot. We can decide in August. We’ll get it right.”