Just got off the phone with county purchasing director Hugh Holt a little while ago. Actually, it was several hours ago, but I got elections tonight, so I'm doing nothing right now. Yeah.
Anyhoo, he said he talked to someone who's name I can't remember, but he's high up in the school system food chain - not as high up as Lord McIntyre, but up there - and he said the Board of Education only needs to approve the schematic designs for Carter Elementary School.
They are not voting on anything else. This should take place Oct. 5. For all the talk, this should pretty much be a slam dunk, as the designs are comparable to Gibbs and some other schools that meet the so-called standards that have never quite been explained.
From what I understand, a vote against the designs would be a vote against the designs of other schools. That's just my impression.
Also, there's been some talk that because the project will use a different developer, then the BOE has to - again - vote on it. That's not the case. They never voted on an actual developer back in August. They voted only to accept a school from the county.
Also, there are some folks out there who think the project should be rebid because the bids supposedly called for a design-build, lease-back, whatever thing. That's also not the case. All of the developers - in their bids - said they would accept a lump sum payment.
So, essentially nothing has changed.
Finally, there's been some talk about the real cost of the school. The actual brick and mortar building is supposed to cost no more than $13.9 million - the same as the county planned to pay The Devon Group before they pulled out for reasons the governor knows. Er, that's what I hear anyway.
(Oh yeah, the new developer by they way, if you've been under a rock, is Partners Development. But, I digress.)
Officials think they can actually get the $13.9 million price tag down a little bit. However, there are some other costs. They call them "FF&E's." This is the crap that goes inside the building. (Fixtures, furniture and equipment.) That is not included in the price.
Initially, it was going to cost $2 million for this stuff when Devon was going to build the school. It's now supposed to cost $1 million. I can't remember why. It was explained to me; it made sense; I've now forgotten.
That's on the county, also.
So, there you have it. Presumably, the county's industrial development authority will sign off on this on Oct. 11 (and the school board on Oct. 5.) Technically, the county had until Oct. 17 to turn in the schematic designs, but that stage wrapped up well before then, so the proposal can go before the two bodies on time.
Groundbreaking - if Partners doesn't pull out - should take place in November.
However, with all that has happened, I'll believe it when I see it.