By Sally Vothfirstname.lastname@example.org
WOODSTOCK -- The Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to spend $206,500 to begin the process of renovating the old Edinburg Middle School and the historic courthouse.
The panel unanimously agreed to authorize County Administrator Doug Walker to negotiate and execute an interim agreement with Caldwell and Santmyer Inc. The Berryville firm submitted an unsolicited Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act proposal to the county earlier this year.
Shockey P3 LLC, of Winchester, submitted an alternative bid in August.
For the $206,500, the county will get 35 percent of the project design, 80 percent of the site plan and a cost estimate for both buildings.
The conceptual proposal to create a facility to house a school for emotionally disturbed and autistic students, as well as continue to host the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging senior center and parks and recreation programs, remains confidential.
Many of Walker's responses to supervisors' questions have been vague.
"I've been overly guarded in sharing information that's listed as proprietary," he explained Tuesday.
The supervisors' vote was for an agreement that assumes they're moving forward with a project with a maximum $4 million price tag.
Several supervisors mentioned that the proposal they saw consisted of renovating 22,000 square feet at the school and building a 15,000-square-foot addition. But, Walker said the project hasn't been designed yet.
"It's not appropriate at this point to talk about additions to the school," he said. "That conversation comes after we've selected your design and build firm. Then, you determine what you want to do. What we're talking about with Davenport [& Co. LLC] is what we can afford. We don't know what the project is going to cost. We don't know what the scope of the project is going to be because it hasn't been designed yet."
Courtney Rogers, who is with the county's financial adviser Davenport & Co., said a conservative estimate was the school would bring in $240,000 annually to the county, which would cover the debt service on a $4 million project, plus at least 65 percent of the project's costs.
"[The proposal] was driven by the program needs," Walker said. "If you want to constrain it by money, then you absolutely can do that.
"The interim agreement is a prelude to a comprehensive agreement. But if you can't get to that point, this gives you an out."
District 3 Supervisor David Ferguson said he could support the project if there is no additional debt being taken on that can't be paid for with saved revenue.