WINNSBORO — The construction method for the new Career and Technology Center was approved 5-1-1 during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Fairfield County School Board.
Superintendent J.R. Green recommended the board to approve the construction selection method of CM-Risk, which is a construction manager method, where a manager will oversee the project on behalf of the school district.
Green noted that the position would be permanent and renewed by the district on a year to year basis, which is the same as any other position. Green confirmed that the 2013-2014 budget included the expenditure of hiring a project manager.
Board trustee Annie McDaniel, who abstained, questioned what would happen to the project manager’s position once the career center is complete.
“When the project is over, then we will elect if we want to keep them on staff or not,” Green answered. “At that point we will determine if want to keep the person on staff or rather end our relationship.”
McDaniel expressed concern that the construction manager would be behind the eight ball because he/she has not been involved in the design process.
The school board voted on an architectural firm (Brownstone) to complete the design.
Before construction takes place, part of the manager’s job is to scrub and review the building-plan documents and make recommendations before building takes place.
A Brownstone firm representative said there would be an intermediate period to go through plans and specifications before beginning the building process.
Once a company is hired to build the building, their interest is to build the building in the least amount of time at the least amount of cost.Green explained that the project manager’s responsibility will be to watch out for the school district’s interest by overseeing the project on their behalf.
“It is advantageous for us to have someone that is primarily looking our for our interests,” Green clarified. “We do that to ensure that the firm is doing things in accordance with our wishes.”
Board trustee Andrea Harrison, who voted against the CM-Risk model, asked if the school board would have the opportunity to select the construction manager following the approval of the CM-Risk method.
Green responded that since the position is certified, the hire will be made by administration and not by the board of trustees.
“Because it is a classified position, I will be bringing a name back to the board in terms of who has been offered the position,” Green responded. “But that is not something that will not come before the board to vote on.”
Upon hearing Green’s response, Harrison announced she wanted to make a statement on the record relieving the school board of responsibility regarding the hire.
She stated that so the public would understand that the decision was taken out of the board’s hands concerning who is hired as the construction manager.
“I know we had already discussed this, but maybe it was a misunderstanding on my part (that the hire would not be made by the board of trustees),” Harrison admitted. “But I thought we would have the opportunity to choose the manager.”
Green stated that the construction manager position, which will be a district employee and not a contractor, has been advertised and interviews have been conducted.
The position’s salary ranges from $49,000 to $77,000 depending on an applicant’s qualifications and experience.
Green told The Herald Independent that an applicant has tentatively accepted an offer and noted that the applicant has done extensive project managing work.
Green expects to make an announcement regarding the hiring within the week.