Architect selection for East Brainerd Elementary School school advances

Architect selection for East Brainerd Elementary School school advances

May 25th, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

Mike Evatt, Chairman of the Hamilton County School Board

Photo by Alex Washburn/Times Free Press.

On Tuesday, a committee will meet to whittle a list of architects seeking to build a new East Brainerd Elementary School.

The list will be cut from 13 candidates to five.

County Commission Chairman Larry Henry, who represents a district that contains most of the students who will be attending the school, confirmed last week that he will be on the selection committee. But school board member Linda Mosley said she hadn't been asked by Wednesday afternoon.

"I talked to [School Board Chairman] Mike Evatt," Mosley said Thursday. "He's offered to let me sit in on the committee in his place."

That decision came after Mosley tried for weeks to determine whether she would be on the committee, she said.

"I asked about it a couple of weeks ago, if they had started the process, and was told 'no,' and that's all I had been told," Mosley said Tuesday.

Mosley emailed schools Superintendent Rick Smith and Assistant Superintendent Gary Waters to inquire about the status.

"I haven't heard from either of them," she said Wednesday afternoon, but Waters later responded, though Smith did not.

An agreement between the County Commission and schools governs how architects are to be selected.

The first step is a review committee, which usually is made up of the county engineer, county public works administrator, assistant superintendent over facilities for the school system and the school board member and commissioner for the district where the school will be located. That group reviews proposals and arranges interviews.

Those five architects or firms will interview to be on a list of three submitted to County Mayor Jim Coppinger and Smith to select a finalist. That selection then must be ratified by county commissioners and the school board.

School board Chairman Mike Evatt said earlier this month that forming this school's architectural review committee poses a unique challenge because the site of the former David Brainerd School -- where the new East Brainerd Elementary is slated to be built -- has been redrawn into District 8, while almost all of its students live in District 7.

Commissioner Tim Boyd and school board member David Testerman represent District 8 so, under the rules, they will be on the committee. But it's optional whether the committee also should include Henry and Mosley, who isn't running in this August's school board election, Evatt said.

Waters said the school system will open bids on another project, Ooltewah Elementary School, on June 5 at 2 p.m. Though the school system originally bid the site preparation, the proposed totals were too high, Waters said, so it rebid the site preparation as part of the full school construction package.

Though local officials were aiming to finish the new Ooltewah school by fall 2013, the bid package asks for offers on two completion dates.

"One will be a May 2014 completion," Waters said. "We'll just have to see how the bids come in."