The future of the Carroll County Career and Technology Center filled Steven Lockard’s first meeting as Carroll County Public Schools superintendent.
While July 11 was Lockard’s first meeting with the Board of Education, his term as superintendent began at the beginning of the month.
The meeting included the recognition of former Superintendent Stephen Guthrie’s retirement from CCPS and the unveiling of his portrait that will join the rest of the former superintendent portraits that line a hallway in CCPS’ Central Office. Guthrie began this month at his new position as superintendent at Sussex Technical School District in Delaware.
Board member Virginia Harrison thanked Guthrie for his time in CCPS.
“You’ll always be with us,” she said. “And good luck.”
Lockard also thanked Guthrie for his years of service in CCPS and in the community, and for his leadership all of these years.
“I appreciate your support in transition and wish you nothing but the best in … the next adventure,” he added.
Guthrie spoke a few words, but said he said all he needed to and gave his goodbyes at his last meeting in June. Instead, he offered thanks for the portrait.
“It is my honor to have my likeness hanging with the people who came before me,” Guthrie said.
Wednesday’s meeting, in addition to recognizing Guthrie and a number of retiring employees, jumped into high-impact topics right away.
The Board of Education unanimously approved, 5-0, an award of bid to Hord, Coplan, Macht in the amount of $582,152 for architectural/engineering services for the Tech Center project, though there were some concerns before the vote. The board is moving forward with phasing in a project for the Tech Center, first looking to add a 21,000-square-foot addition, followed by a modernization.
“This project involves a phased approach to the modernization of the CCCTC,” according to meeting documents. “Services under this RFP are for Phase One only, which includes the planning and construction of an addition to the current building, and full schematic design (including 3 options) for the modernization of the entire facility. Phase Two will include the renovation of the existing building to bring it into conformance with current building and life safety codes.”
Jon O’Neal, assistant superintendent of administration, said once the bid is awarded, potential plans would likely come back this fall.
Board Vice President Donna Sivigny brought up concerns, and said what the BOE was set to approve felt like more than Phase One.
“We don’t have alignment … for dollars or the scope or magnitude,” she said.
O’Neal said what is being approved isn’t Phase Two, and that the project will come back to the board for that. But, he said, CCPS needs to get a sense of what the overall project would be to determine general things.
Board member Devon Rothschild also brought up concerns about plans coming back in the fall, asking what the options would be based on.
“I don’t feel like the board has given parameters,” she said.
Her fear, she added, is that the architects will come back with unfeasible plans that the board will ultimately vote against.
Ray Prokop, director of CCPS facilities management, said the architects will look at the education specifications that came out of a committee that worked during the last school year and will incorporate as much as they can while staying on budget.
“Those options will be in the constraints of the budget,” he said.
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He also said there would be three opportunities for the school board to review the direction of the project — the schematic design, the design and development documents, and the construction documents.
Sivigny and Rothshild weren’t on their own in concern over the progression of the project. Marsha Herbert, a board member, said she felt like “we’re doing the cart before the horse.”
But, Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, and the ex-officio nonvoting member on the board, said the way the phasing and planning is being done makes sense.
“It is very hard to successfully phase a project if you don’t have some idea of what the whole project looks like,” Howard said.
Sivigny said she was still concerned that because the only approved money is $10 million for the addition, there isn’t alignment of how much money could be spent on the modernization portion.
“We risk losing the whole project,” she added.
While the board ultimately voted unanimously to move forward with the awarding of bids, both Sivigny and Rothschild pushed for a caveat that requires at least one of the plans the architects come back with includes an option where the addition can stand alone to assure the entire project isn’t derailed.