By Kim Walter
WINCHESTER - At its Wednesday meeting, the Frederick County School Board voted to approve contracts that will be awarded to several firms for division projects, including a replacement middle school, a fourth high school and additions and renovations to four elementary schools.
Ben Waterman, board member and chairman of the school system's Buildings and Grounds Committee, informed board members on the architectural and engineering contract recommendations, to which all got unanimous approval.
Proposals for the design services for both the replacement middle school and new high school were received from 13 architectural firms.
The board voted to award a $1,982,500 contract for a replacement Frederick County Middle School to SHW Group of Charlottesville. A contract for $3,149,150 was awarded to OWPR Architects and Engineers of Blacksburg for the fourth high school.
Al Orndorff, assistant superintendent for administration, noted that the design of the two buildings may differ from what the county has since seen in educational facilities.
"We will try to take the best parts of the current Frederick County Middle School layout and work from there," he said. "But keep in mind that it could be a two story building, and it needs to reflect the community it will be in as well."
In speaking about the fourth high school, Orndorff again mentioned a multi-story building.
"This will be a complete redesign," he said. "It won't be a mirror image of Sherando or Millbrook."
Board member John Lamanna asked Orndorff if the two-story building approach was becoming more common, and if it was something that staff agreed was "a good idea."
Orndorff said the two-story design wasn't definite, but neither was the traditional one story.
"There are plenty of issues to review, because pros and cons come with both designs," he said. "We will make sure that no matter what, the design supports instruction with an eye to the future ... the building will be sustainable and moving toward energy efficiency."
Stuart Wolk, chairman, also questioned the two-story layout.
"Back in the day, the one story design seemed to make the most sense in terms of cost and school security and safety," he said. "Has there been an about face on that?"
Orndorff said some advantages to a two-story building include a smaller footprint on the property. However, it could mean a higher cost because of more steel and concrete being used to support the structure. But, costs would be less for something like a roof.
"For instance, to get a new roof on Sherando, we're easily looking at $600,000," Orndorff said. "But other prices pick up as the economy does, so this is something we'll need to research. I just can't say absolutely either way at this time."
Bids were also received for elementary school additiona and renovations, which will make full day kindergarten a reality. Work will be done at four schools - Redbun Run, Evandale, Bass-Hoover and Stonewall Elementary schools.
The board voted to award a $5,422,100 contract to Caldwell & Santmyer, Inc. for work on all schools. Orndorff said the amount was lower than the estimated project cost of $5.56 million.
The elementary school projects are expected to be completed by March of next year so that full day kindergarten can start in the fall of 2014.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org