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Four firms vie for BE facilities work

Dan Miller from JLG Architects (left) presents information to Brandon-Evansville School Board members including Shane Englund. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Brandon-Evansville School Board members have a decision to make.

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, the board heard from four consulting firms that are seeking to help the district address its facility needs, which could mean building one or two new schools or remodeling the existing buildings.

Last fall, a referendum failed that would have built a brand new K-12 school in Brandon. The two schools — one in Brandon and one in Evansville — are aging and both buildings have their share of issues, including non-secure entrances, roof leaks and boiler problems.

The school board hasn't made any decisions how it will move forward, with hopes a consulting firm can help with the process.

The consulting firms vying for the job are Johnson Controls, JLG Architects, Kraus-Anderson and ICS Consulting.

Although the firms' presentations were open to the public, there were no more than 15-20 people in attendance at each one.

The school board will make its decision at the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Evansville Senior Center.

Here's a look at a few highlights from each presentation:

Johnson Controls

• Will provide a maximum dollar amount for the building project and guarantee not to exceed that limit.

• Will work toward a solution that the majority of people can get behind.

• Solution won't be one-size-fits-all, but will be tailored to the district.

• Pricing will be better than the competitors.

• Promises lots of communication among all parties involved throughout the whole process.

• Will not force its products on the district.

• Has been in the facilitation business for more than 20 years.

• Would function as a construction manager, and give preference to local contractors.

JLG Architects

• Will explore every option.

• Will look at cost threshold versus needs.

• Has more than 30 years experience.

• Said project is the school's vision and that the firm is just a tool to help in the process.

• Will customize its plan to the district's needs, but said the district may not get everything it wants.

• Believes communication is key.

• Feels schools should be built beyond curriculum and that the district needs to create a space that is most effective for 21st-century learners.

• Feels it is most affordable to have one facility.

Kraus-Anderson

• Will customize and tailor plan to fit the district's needs.

• Wants to make sure that people age 55 and older are listened to.

• Wants to engage Brandon and Evansville residents.

• Wants to position the district for sustainability and financial success.

• Wants a respectful process.

• Will develop a 10-year plan.

• Will perform a space analysis.

• Will send out surveys, noting that mailings are expensive but social media is cheap.

ICS Consulting

• Doesn't want blanket approach, and will take a customized approach.

• Said community needs to be involved.

• Wants a proven process to develop a thoughtful, cost-effect, long-term plan that the district and taxpayers will support.

• Has high success rate of passing school referendums, with 12 of 14 approved in last year (86 percent).

• Will put students and staff first.

• Says communication is critical, and will develop a communication plan.

• Will hold six to seven listening sessions.

• Is endorsed by Lakes Country Service Cooperative.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

(320) 763-1242
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