By Travis Smola
The Schoolcraft school board unanimously voted to approve a request for proposals to conduct a facility assessment of Schoolcraft’s existing school buildings and facilities.
The request seeks services of an architectural and engineering firm and construction management firm to assess all facilities and grounds and give a detailed analysis report. The idea is to use the report to plan for repairs, maintenance and a potential renewal of facilities.
“It doesn’t mean that we’re doing a project,” Superintendent Rusty Stitt said. “I just want to know the fees up front for a $10-20 million project.” Stitt said he wished he’d known those fees when he worked on a big project in his previous job.
The assessment will document and grade facility conditions looking at everything from security, safety and HVAC to traffic flow and environmental concerns. It would also identify potential areas of cost savings and useful life expectancy for existing facilities.
Recommendations for improvements would also be given based on priority of need. Highest priority issues would be ones to be completed within one year, while lowest would be 11 to 15 years.
The trustees decided to take a conservative approach with the assessment by including language that doesn’t obligate the district to actually do a project with the chosen architect and construction management firm.
Trustee Jill Hunt also expressed concern that a firm could change their fees if a project were to be more clearly defined. “I’ve seen the games they like to play. I think there’s some risk there,” Hunt said.
Stitt echoed this concern, saying a firm could lowball on an assessment and come back with a higher price on the actual project. Hunt suggested the interview process should include asking a firm whether it is willing to commit to the fees suggested by an assessment.
The district is looking for applicants that have done a minimum of at least three similar assessments for other K-12 schools. They are also asked to provide references and past performances on school building projects.
Interested architects and construction firms have until October 30 to submit proposals to the district. Administrators will begin going over the proposals the same day with plans to shortlist and notify firms for interviews by the next day. Interviews will be done on November 6, with a partnership chosen on November 7.