Tag: energy-positive schools

HCGOP Hears Details on Horry County Schools Building Projects

Four members of the Horry County Schools Board of Education were present at a special meeting of the Horry County Republican Party last week to provide information on the recent awarding of five contracts to First Floor Energy Positive for new, energy positive schools.

This is an issue that still resonates in local media because First Floor Energy Positive had the highest total cost for their proposals for the five schools.

What seems to be missing from the local conversation is that the process used to select First Floor Energy Positive focused on building energy positive schools. This means energy savings in future years must be factored into the equation.

Will there be significant energy savings? There have been from schools built by First Floor in North Carolina.

Several days after the meeting, I heard an interview with HCGOP member who, several times, referred to the contracts going to the “highest bid.”

First of all, these were not bids, they were proposals.

Later in the interview, it was correctly stated that the school board basically got three conceptual proposals that were presented by the three finalist contractors. He correctly stated that the three contractors were not bidding on a design submitted by the school district.

These are key points that have been missed often in the ongoing discussion about these contract awards.

These were not design-bid-build contracts where the school district develops a design that is then bid on with the contract generally going to the lowest bidder.

These were design-build proposals that were developed by the individual contractors within overall specifications and requirements of the school district.

Several members of the selection committee for HCS said First Floor Energy Positive was the only one of the three finalist contractors to meet all of the requirements in their designs.

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.

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.