By Paul Gable
An executive session for the Horry County Schools Board of Education dealing contract negotiations is scheduled for Monday night.
According to the agenda, the board will receive legal advice on contract negotiations for the five school building projects scheduled for completion in 2017.
Two weeks ago, the Horry County Schools Board of Education voted 11-1 to direct staff to begin final negotiations with First Floor Energy Positive for the five school building projects.
According to information provided at that time, the proposals submitted by First Floor Energy Positive were superior to those of competing firms, second place Thompson Turner Construction and third place M.B. Kahn Construction. Additionally, First Floor Energy Positive’s experience in the construction of energy-positive school designs was an important factor in their choice.
First Floor Energy Positive’s team consists of local sub-contractors whose businesses and many employees are located in Horry County. Spending local public money in contracts with local firms is always a consideration for public agencies.
The wording of the executive agenda item is clouded enough to shroud exactly what will be discussed, but the board gave staff clear direction two weeks ago.
The school board, having been elected by the voters, is the policy making body for Horry County Schools. It is up to the staff to follow through on the policy directions voted by the board.
The timeline for the five schools is to have construction essentially completed by May 1, 2017 so that punch lists can be completed by mid-June of 2017 and the schools ready for occupancy when classes begin in August 2017.
Anything that will further delay the beginning of construction on these five projects is unacceptable to a number of the board members we have spoken to.
It will be interesting to see what public comments and further direction, if any, comes out of this executive session and how strong the board will be in seeing its policy directions are carried out.