School Board okays funding for Cundiff and WBHS projects

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The Roanoke County School Board approved the appropriation of funds for the W.E. Cundiff Classroom Pod Secure Entrances Project at its meeting on March 9.

According to George Assaid, Director of Facilities and Operations, funds were allocated in August 2016 for the design and construction of classroom secure pod entrances at Cundiff. Bids received were in excess of the previously appropriated funds by more than 10 percent. The School Board was asked to allocate an additional $36,625 for the W.E. Cundiff project, with funds coming from Minor Capital Reserves.

Cundiff was built in 1972 featuring an open concept floor plan. Over the past several years, the school system has implemented security features at Cundiff, including constructing a new front entrance to create a vestibule where visitors must sign in and then be permitted into the office area, additional cameras, and more secure exterior doors.

The current project continues safety upgrades by replacing old interior doors with steel door frames and solid doors, improved door hardware and more secure panels within the interior classroom spaces. These measures further enhance safety and security, based upon recommendations from the safety and security task force.

“The scope of the project is to provide secure entrances into each pod,” said Assaid. “At each pod entrance, steel frames with solid core doors and bullet resistant panels will be installed. Additionally, there are some interior glass walls with drywall backing that will be changed out to bullet resistant panels. The interior of the building will mostly remain unchanged with the exception of the new doors and frames installed in the currently open pod entrances.  Security is enhanced by the creation of an interior secure perimeter and will hinder an intruder from directly accessing the open pods from the corridors.”

Staff negotiated with “the lowest responsive and responsible bidder to reduce the price so that the project may begin at the beginning of spring break and conclude within a few weeks thereafter.”

Assaid says the reduction in the base bid amount was reduced without adversely affecting the integrity of the project. The cost of the Cundiff project will be $98,860 to be executed by Roanoke County Schools Superintendent Dr. Greg Killough.

A similar project is scheduled for Glen Cove Elementary, which also has an open-classroom design.

The School Board also took action on projects for Track and Field improvements at William Byrd High School. Assaid first asked the board to waive the Value Engineering requirement for projects costing over $2 million, which would have raised the cost of the project. The estimated cost of the project at Byrd is $2.15 million.

Once the Value Engineering was waived, the board approved a construction contract with FieldTurf USA for installation of a synthetic field surface and rubberized track at the WBHS stadium. The amount approved was $1,376,560. Assaid said FieldTurf is the “leading synthetic turf surface company in the United States.”

FieldTurf operates under a cooperative procurement agreement through Fairfax County Public Schools that will allow Roanoke County Schools to proceed with the project without having to utilize an RFP process.

The School Board also approved a construction contract with Carolina Green in the amount of $446,427 for improvements to 4.7 acres of athletic practice fields below the stadium at William Byrd. This project falls under the University of Virginia contract utilizing cooperative procurement without the school system having to use the RFP process.

According to Penny Hodge, Assistant Superintendent of Finance for Roanoke County Schools, “When we purchase goods/services on either a state contract or piggyback on another locality contract that has cooperative language, that means that the purchase has already been competitively procured. Either the state (state contracts) or the other locality has already obtained quotes or bids to get the most competitive price so we are not required to reinvent the wheel and do it again. The objective is to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars so that is why we have the legal obligation to competitively purchase goods/services. This is a way to ensure that happens, but also avoid spending time and effort to re-do what has been done already by others.”

Dr. Killough recognized Hodge and Susan Peterson from the Finance Department who led the school system to receive a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Killough and School Board members commended Hodge and her team for preparing budgets which bring about a quality education for Roanoke County students at a lower cost per pupil than most other districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“The data shows that there is only one school division out of 133 in Virginia that has higher student performance as measured by the SOLs at a lower per pupil cost,” noted Hodge. “In other words, Roanoke County Schools spends less and gets significantly more return on their investment.”

“For much less, our Roanoke County staff gives us so much more and then some,” said School Board Chairman Tim Greenway. “We are truly blessed!”

Hodge took the opportunity to credit former Roanoke County Assistant County Administrator Diane Hyatt, who passed away recently, as her mentor and “such a friend to education.”