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Burgin chosen as architect for Rowan-Salisbury Schools central office project

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER — The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education voted 6-1 Monday to hire Salisbury architect Bill Burgin to design the district’s new central office building, foregoing the option to bid out the project.
Gene Miller, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, recommended Ramsey, Burgin, Smith Architects for the job, citing a “good history” that includes 15 years’ worth of projects.
“I think it’s always an advantage to have a local architect,” Miller said. “When they get through, they’ve got to live here, live with what they’ve done.”
Burgin designed the cafeteria addition at West Rowan Middle School as well as the plans for Hanford Dole Elementary and Southeast Middle.
Architectural services cannot be bid monetarily, Miller said. Instead, the board would simply be seeking the best firm for the job by examining their financial stability and work history.
“Whether we interview one or 10, I really believe that we would come back to the same conclusion,” Miller said.
Miller said Burgin has stated he would design the $6 million central office facility, set to be built in downtown Salisbury, for 5.9 percent of the project cost.
Architectural fees usually run between 6 and 6.25 percent, Miller said.
During discussion, school board member Dr. Richard Miller asked how long it would take to bid out the project.
Gene Miller said the school system would probably need to advertise for a minimum of 30 days before narrowing the field to about six firms. It could take weeks to make a decision at that, he said.
School board member Bryce Beard made the motion to hire Burgin, saying that “time is of the essence.”
“We’ve had a long-term relationship with Ramsay, Burgin, Smith,” he said.
Beard also mentioned the fact that Burgin has “already done the preliminary drawings” for the building.
Burgin conducted a survey of the district’s space needs back in 2007, creating an inventory of how much square footage the system already has and listing what needs to be added.
School board member Mike Caskey cast the lone dissenting vote.
“I’m sure they’ll do a good job, but I would still rather we put it out for bid just so we can say we looked under every stone,” he said.
Miller, the assistant superintendent for operations, said Monday’s decision to hire Burgin has “cleared the way” for the project.
The school board’s attorney is expected to finish Burgin’s contact by the end of the week. After that, planning for the building can get under way.
Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom said last week that she doesn’t expect to be able to consolidate all five of the system’s current administrative offices into one immediately.
The school board originally requested the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approval to construct a three-story, 62,000-square-foot building. The price tag for such a facility would come in at about $8 million before interest.
That means Burgin will be designing the building so that it can be expanded in the future.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
Twitter: twitter.com/posteducation
Facebook: facebook.com/Sarah.SalisburyPost

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