The reality of construction has replaced the tension of the long effort to build the high school and the Clarke County School Board’s special meeting for construction was all business Monday evening. A raft of presentations and ongoing plans for the much anticipated ground breaking ceremony dominated the agenda. Highlights of the meeting included:
Third Party Testing:
The board heard a presentation from QA Plus, a testing firm that is seeking the board’s approval to fulfill the third party testing requirements for the Clarke County High School project. Major projects such as the new school require third party testing of materials and processes during construction in order to ensure safety and performance issues are being met. These tests must be conducted by a firm other than principal contractor, so this has been a line item in the budget since the beginning of the process. The decision at this point is selection of the vendor for testing.
Mr. DeHaut’s presentation outlined the need for testing and the company’s approach to work flow and communications with the client. He also went over a detailed list of testing schedules and items required by the contract. The schedule also included optional items that his firm suggested the School Board consider but that were not a contractual requirement. The brunt of these add-ons were “Commissioning Services,” in particular for HVAC equipment. His firm provides commissioning because scheduling and poor communications often leave systems installed properly but operating below the needed specification.
Mr DeHaut conceded, “You shouldn’t need it, but you do need it. That’s the easiest way to say it.”
The suggested HVAC commissioning services could add an additional $81,878.50.
The board is taking the presentation under consideration for a decision at the August School Board meeting.
High School Color Palette:
The board also reviewed initial design color palettes for the new high school. Presentation boards were used to show renderings of key spaces with the finish treatments suggested by the architect. While the reception was generally good, the School Board did express concern that the palette “seemed dark.” There was also discussion on how to handle the bright orange that is a hallmark of the Clarke County Eagles. While it is an important aspect of the school colors it could be overwhelming to use in all situations so the contractor is attempting to use a more muted orange where appropriate. The design rep told the board this was an initial palette and would be revised as the project moved forward.
Fire Hydrant Change Order Request Rejected:
The board considered a change order request from CRA for redesign of the fire hydrant loop that is shown on the construction drawings. The budget surplus realized by the competitive bids the School Board received has made it possible for the the addition of 8 classrooms that were not in the initial bid. The water line for the fire hydrants in the current drawing is in the way of the additional classrooms and CRA wants a $10K change order to move it in the amended drawings. After Chairman Robina Bouffault presented the scenario, board members pointed out there were provisions in the initial package for the possibility of expansion. The consensus was that CRA should have made this adjustment as a provision and board member, Emily Rhodes, summarized their position saying,”Thank you very much but you should have done it right the first time.”
The board decided that CRA should correct the design at no additional charge.
Also regarding the $7 million surplus, the school board initiated plans for upgrades and improvements on other schools in the Clarke County system utilizing their cache of surplus funds. The schools plans to hire Crabtree Rohrbaugh Associates (CRA) to develop a detailed analysis for construction cost estimates and the associated design fees for renovation work to other schools in the county. The design team from CRA would conduct a complete walk through of all the facilities to examine existing conditions and gain a thorough understanding of the School Board’s desired and prioritized scope of work. The deliverable from these contract amendments would be an analysis of the proposed work including construction costs and design fees. These initial numbers would provide the school board with a clear picture of where they could realize the most benefit from possible renovations.
Facilities that are under consideration for renovation work include the existing high school, DG Cooley, and Berryville Primary. The additional classroom expansion in the new high school would also fall into this scope of work. The architect will look at existing schools with a focus on window, doors, electrical, data, HVAC and accessibility improvements.
The board voted unanimously to proceed with these cost analysis measures.
Ground Breaking Ceremony:
Last but not least the School Board reviewed plans for the much anticipated ground breaking ceremony for the new high school scheduled for this Saturday. The event will include free t-shirts, and balloons, guest speakers and a shovel painting contest. For full details see the CCHS Groundbreaking Ceremony Schedule on the Clarke Daily News .