School board to choose architectural firm
In April, Tonganoxie school board members will select an architectural firm one that will be expected to lead the district through planning and construction of a new school and renovation of existing buildings.
On Feb. 25, board members interviewed architects from the DLR Group, Overland Park, and from ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens Inc., Leawood. Both firms have experience in school construction and both firms have agreed to work with the district on a contingency basis.
The district's planned construction projects will likely be four or five years from now if voters approve a future bond issue, said Superintendent Richard Erickson. Erickson estimates that construction costs could run from either $15 million to $20 million, or $10 million to $15 million.
In talking to the architectural firms, both agreed their fee would be 6 percent of the total cost of new construction. DLR said renovation could run from 7 percent to 9 percent of the total cost, and ACI/Frangkiser Hutchens would charge about 6 percent.
Erickson has since talked to James French, an architect with the DLR Group.
"The DLR Group is willing to negotiate the rate for remodeling," Erickson said. "They're willing to start at 6 percent."
Erickson said their cost could rise, depending on the work involved. One possibility that could drive the price up, he said, would be if a large amount of asbestos must be removed.
Erickson said he also asked the DLR Group if French could be the lead architect on the project.
"They said yes they would let Jim French do the work," Erickson said. "In checking with some other school districts, he is their top architect."
Board member Darlyn Hanson said after meeting with both firms, he would prefer that the district contract with the DLR Group.
"I felt that DLR was much more thorough than the other group and their attention to detail was much better," Hanson said.
Erickson noted that both firms look good to him.
"They have some real strong references," Erickson said. "I think we have two A+ firms that are willing to work on a contingency."
Board member Ron Moore said he was leaning toward the DLR Group.
"I don't have any particular reservations about moving ahead with the arrangement with these guys, as long as we're all clear that this is not a short-term process," Moore said. "It's going to be two to three years, or four to five years."
The board will decide on an architectural firm at its next regular meeting, scheduled for April 8.