For Re-1, race on to find best architectural firms
Roaring Fork School District RE-1 will accept proposals Tuesday from architectural firms vying for $86 million worth of construction projects in the district. The firms will be competing for the district’s bond dollars, but the district will also be competing for the best firms. “We’re in a race,” Chris Squandra told the Re-1 school board. Squandra is the president of Architectural Resource Consultants, Inc., the firm Re-1 hired to guide it through the architectural selection process. The reason for the “race” is that Colorado voters approved $973.7 million in school district bonds, 96 percent of the bonds school districts asked for statewide, according to the Colorado Association of School Executive’s Web site. The $974 million this year compares to $714 million in 2003, $816 million in 2002, and $414 million in 2001. “There are many school districts out there that are hiring their design teams (now),” said Tim Brekel, ARC’s Western Slope manager. Summit County RE-1 School District has already hired its design team, and districts in Mesa, Jefferson and Adams counties are all in the process of hiring design teams, Brekel said. All told, 15 districts passed bonds this year, ranging from a $1.99 million bond in Custer County to a $323.8 million bond in Jefferson County R-1. Though firms may be in shorter supply this year than in years past, Re-1 officials aren’t worried about getting a good firm, said school board chairperson Susan Hakanson. RE-1 may be attractive for school architects, since its $86 million bond is worth more than all but four other districts in the state. “I think our projects are fascinating,” Hakanson said.RE-1 has major projects planned for schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, and Basalt. ARC is also confident Re-1 will end up with a good firm. “There are a lot of good design teams out there and the list of team chasing after the Roaring Fork School District is a quality list,” Brekel said. “I’m sure we’ll end up with a quality design team.” Re-1’s bond oversight committee – which includes two school board members, superintendent Fred Wall, the maintenance and finance directors, and community members – will get the first look at architect proposals, then present a short list to the school board Jan. 7. The school board is scheduled to decide on a firm or firms Jan. 12.Due to the size of Re-1’s project, Hakanson said she thought more than one firm will be hired, but said a few firms around the nation are large enough to handle the entire project. With architect selection, Re-1 is beginning a project that will change the face of the district. “It really is exciting when you think about these buildings,” Hakanson said. “We’ll be using these buildings for the next 50 years.”We’re hoping for some really tremendous designs.”
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