Hamilton County Commission to assign architects for schools

Hamilton County Commission to assign architects for schools

August 14th, 2014 by Louie Brogdon in Local Regional News

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger speaks in this file photo.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Hamilton County commissioners next week will vote whether to assign architects to four new school projects, send $26 million to the city's Industrial Development Board for the planned expansion at Volkswagen and confirm or deny a mayoral appointment to the Erlanger board of trustees.

During an agenda session Wednesday, commissioners heard resolutions assigning nearly $2.9 million to four architects for the design of a new Ganns Middle Valley Elementary and additions at Nolan Elementary School, Sale Creek Middle/High School and Wolftever Creek Elementary School.

In March, commissioners agreed to Mayor Jim Coppinger's plan to build the four projects for $48 million. The votes next week will only be to design the schools, and Commissioner Tim Boyd, who sits on the commission's finance committee, wanted to know if the design portion was at or under budget.

"Since these are definitive figures on these resolutions, can I interpret that to mean that the budget price for these particular projects has been whittled down?" he asked during a committee meeting.

But Gary Waters, who manages facilities for Hamilton County Schools, said design fees were set by a state price schedule and "we think we are still at the estimating stage."

According to the resolutions, Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson Architects would design Ganns for $1.4 million; Franklin Architects would design the Nolan Elementary addition for $328,590; Hefferlin + Kronenberg Architects would draw up the extension of Sale Creek Middle/High School for $679,300; and Billingsley/Architect would handle the addition at Wolftever Creek Elementary for $421,976.

In March, the Ganns school was estimated to cost $26 million. Additions at Sale Creek are expected to cost $12 million and $5 million each at the other two schools.

Commissioners also will hear a resolution to give $26 million to Chattanooga's IDB, which Finance Committee Chairman Joe Graham said was part of the deal for Volkswagen's expansion at Enterprise South industrial park.

"This is basically some cleanup work on the budget for VW. This is the money we agreed for the expansion. It's coming out of our fund balance now, but we did leave the door open to turn this over to bonds if need be," Graham said.

Commissioners also will consider the appointment of Richard Youngblood to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority board of trustees.

The county has had a vacant appointment since the authority, which manages Erlanger Health System, was restructured.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.