Construction Committee Short Lists Three Firms for Renovation Project

Proposals selected for further review from RRMM, Gilbert Architects, and OWPR. Photo credit Mike Dowling

In a marathon two and a half hour session, the Construction Committee of the Clarke County Public School System sorted through twelve responses to a request for proposal for the upcoming renovation of three schools in the district. Two members of the committee, Superintendent Mike Murphy and School Board representative, Jim Brinkmeier (Berryville) recused themselves from the proceedings to prevent conflict of interest issues citing prior dealings with some of the vendors. That left a four member panel to provide critical assessment of the submitted proposals. In attendance for the committee were: Janet Creager Alger (Russell), Dr. Beth Leffel (Buckmarsh), Barbara Lee (Millwood), and Chip Schutte (White Post). Staff member attendance included Asst. Superintendent Rick Catlett and DG Cooley Principal, Griff Carmichael. Tom Judge provided overviews of each submission and committee members were to score each proposal on four criteria with a grade from 1-10 (10 being the best). The criteria included:

  • ¬†familiarity with the project’s area of specialty, school renovation
  • experience with projects in the last 5 years of similar scope
  • qualifications of personnel to be aligned to the work
  • reputation of the firm for completing projects on-time and within budget

Firms that submitted proposals included:

  1. Ballou Justice Upton Architects
  2. RRMM
  3. Crabtree Rohrbaugh
  4. OWPR
  5. Hord Coplan Macht
  6. Moseley
  7. Architecture, Inc.
  8. Lukmire Partnership, Inc.
  9. Peck Peck & Associates
  10. Gilbert Architects Inc.
  11. Hayes Large Architects
  12. Hughes Group Architects

The committee members said they had spent significant amounts of time reviewing the documents prior to the meeting and used the assembled forum to discuss the pros and cons of each of the businesses and insights gleaned from review of the materials.  Much of the discussion throughout the evening revolved around the qualifications of individuals who would be working on the project and relevant project experience.

In the end, after two hours of discussion, the scores were tallied and the field of proposals was culled to three firms .

Garnering the most votes (nearly unanimous) was RRMM. During discussions, Tom Judge said RRMM’s relevant project list, “Almost looks like school renovations are a specialty of the firm.”

Coming in second was Gilbert Architects Inc. Initial concerns over the firms failure to assign an architect for the project were overcome by the wealth of projects listed that showed substantial elementary school work.

The third and final proposal selected for further review was OWPR. The firm was examined critically during the process and was scrutinized for the limited number of architects listed for the project. However, the firm’s proposal was heavy with engineering staff, which committee member Chip Schutte saw as a bonus given the nature of the work that will need to be done in the Clarke County project.

Each of the firms will be given the opportunity to present to the committee at a special meeting scheduled for July 30, 2012 at 9:00 am. At that time, each firm’s proposal and approach to the project will be questioned by committee members to advance the process towards a final selection.


  1. George Archibald says:

    One basic omission in the story was any reference to range of cost among the proposals or projects. The expertise and track record of applicant companies are important, but they have all submitted fancy bound proposals shown only because they want the multi-million-dollar contracts and jobs to be paid for by taxpayers. So what was the cost range in the county’s Request for Proposals (RFP) and how much did each company bid? That’s what we should be focused on.

    CDN Editor: Virginia procurement regulations preclude the School Board from evaluating professional service providers on cost at this stage of the procurement process according to Clarke County officials.