A year after the collapse of Blacksburg High School, Montgomery County officials are far from finalizing plans on the building's future.
The gym collapsed on Feb. 13, 2010, with poor weather conditions, structural deficiencies and foundational issues cited in the collapse.
The Montgomery County School Board is currently in the financing phase of the reconstruction of BHS.
In December 2010, the board approved $124.5 million for the reconstruction and renovation of BHS and two county schools in Auburn.
As of now, the board is discussing which construction method will be used for the BHS replacement. The two different programs are design-bid-build and Public Private Educational Infrastructure Act design. The board has approved moving down both paths at parallel speeds.
“There is a lot of negotiation in both groups and room for conversation,” said Brenda Drake Bowdell, public information officer and board clerk of Montgomery County Public Schools.
Design-bid-build is a more traditional method. With this program, the HS division solicits requests for an architect. An architect will then conduct interviews with various people and come up with a design for the building. After the design is completed, it is put out for a bid from contractors.
PPEA is a relatively new program, allowing for private groups to submit design plans. While the board received a proposal, Bowdell said the submission "does not necessarily rule out design-bid-build."
Now that the school board is evaluating the proposal, there are a series of steps that must be followed. The board must find someone to evaluate the proposal to make sure that it is sound and what it is looking for. Next, it must advertise it has received an unsolicited proposal. Any competitor may ask to review the proposal and they have 45 days to submit a competing proposal.
There is a potential complication in regards to the proposals. The architects who are working on the Auburn High School are in the design phase of the project, and if the board accepted the submittedd proposal, then that could affect the work on the Auburn High School.
“People who have given the unsolicited proposal have said they will take everything that has already been done on the Auburn HS and put it into their plan, meaning they will work with the current architect. Until we accept that architect’s design, they own that design, and may be unwilling to share it with the new team,” said board member Wat Hopkins.
The school board's next meeting is scheduled for tonight.