Tag: Board of Education

Orchestrated Attack on Horry County School Board

Since early last month when the Horry County Schools Board of Education picked First Floor Energy Positive to build five new schools, there has been an orchestrated attack to denigrate that decision.

Much has been made of the fact that the First Floor proposals were over the initial budget while little has been said about all three finalists submitting proposals over budget.

Several news articles have said that the school board ignored the advice of a paid consultant, but never mentioned that consultant was hired by the board’s attorneys to answer technical questions only and not to make recommendations about the awarding of the contracts.

Those articles were quick to point out that M.B. Kahn was the only one of the three finalists whose proposal was ‘within striking range’ of the initial budget.

The news media basically got fed part of the story and ran with it.

These were not design-bid-build projects where the contract design generally goes to the lowest bidder. These were design-build proposals where the best, most complete proposal gets the contract as long as the cost is in the ballpark of the others.

Many other allegations of ‘misinformation’ are being circulated, even though those circulating them can be seen to have some ties, past and/or present, to one of the unsuccessful proposers.

However, First Floor Energy Positive was the only proposer who demonstrated the ability to deliver the schools on time.

In addition, several sources familiar with the selection committee process said there are things First Floor included in their proposals, that the others did not, which helped the selection committee understand what they were getting and, more importantly, were requirements of the Request for Proposal and SC law.

And, First Floor Energy Positive is the only proposer of the three finalists to have successfully built energy positive schools that are raved about by the North Carolina school districts in which they are located.

Horry County Schools Picks First Floor Energy Positive

The Horry County Schools Board of Education voted last night to award construction of five new schools to First Floor Energy Positive.

Included in the motion to award contracts for all five schools in this round of building projects to First Floor Energy Positive, was the raising of the budget for construction from approximately $167 million to approximately $225 million.

Proposals from all three finalist construction teams exceeded the initial budget by a considerable margin, according to sources familiar with the process.

The vote effectively ends a selection process that began in early 2014. The school district will now file a Notice of Intent to award contracts and there will be a 14 day protest period in which one of the other two finalist construction teams may challenge the award if they so desire.

A protest is expected and sources within the school district say there has already been Freedom of Information Act requests for large numbers of documents associated with the selection process.

Be that as it may, the Horry County Schools Board of Education made the correct choice.

First Floor Energy Positive has constructed three state of the art schools in North Carolina, all of which generate more energy than they consume. Excess energy is sold back to the local power grid.

Horry County Schools Building Decision

The Horry County Schools Board of Education will vote on awarding building contracts for five new schools at a special meeting tonight.

This should have already occurred, but bureaucratic interference slowed the process down since the board voted October 12, 2015 to begin negotiations for all five projects with First Floor Energy Positive, the top rated construction team from an earlier selection process.

Thompson Turner Construction and M.B. Kahn are second and third rated teams, respectively and were again included in the process in the past two weeks when bureaucracy took over.

The Horry County Schools board expressed an interest in building energy positive schools when the Request for Proposals for these five projects was reissued earlier this year.

First Floor Energy Positive is the only one of the three finalist teams to have already constructed energy positive schools. In fact, it is the only team in the United States to have designed, constructed and operated energy positive schools.

Sandy Grove Middle School in North Carolina was the first energy positive school built by First Floor Energy Positive. It generated 42% more energy than it consumed in its first year of operation. The excess energy was sold to the local power grid.

The other two North Carolina schools in operation have produced similar savings.

Based on the experience of the three schools in North Carolina, it can be projected that Horry County Schools and taxpayers can save $100 million in utility costs over the 40-year lifespan of these five schools.

These are not hollow projections. First Floor Energy Positive is the only one of the three finalist teams who can guarantee, via performance bond, that their school buildings will generate more energy on-site than they will consume.

Energy Savings in Horry County Schools

The Horry County Schools Board of Education will hold a special meeting Monday night to vote on the awarding of contracts to build five new schools.

Board members voted October 12, 2015 to direct staff to enter into negotiations with First Floor Energy Positive, the top rated of three finalist teams considered for the projects, to finalize contracts for the five school buildings.

The vote approving the contracts was expected to come at the board’s regularly scheduled October 26, 2015 meeting.

However, according to sources familiar with the process, the negotiations hit a bureaucratic bump with staff and attorneys for Horry County Schools insisting the second and third place rated teams, Thompson Turner Construction and M.B. Kahn Construction respectively, had to be included in the final negotiation process.

The results of those negotiations, including recommendations for award of the contracts, are scheduled to be reported to the board at the specially called meeting.

Horry County Schools Construction Projects

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.