School board hiring consultant for facilities

Published November 8, 2015 by justicewg

The board has announced they will hire a consultant who will apparently be acting in parallel with the Facilities Task Force that has already been at work for a couple of months. The TVN story says that the consultant will not necessarily be an architect. Out of all the consultants the board might find, it is hard to believe that anyone else would be more qualified than an architect, but it may be that they are going for cheap over qualifications.

The story says that the person hired to consult will not be eligible to provide design services for any future improvements, in order to prevent the person hired from give himself work by recommending costly new building designs. This makes sense, but it doesn’t change the fact that any consultant will know that the board is looking to put up large new buildings, and consultants tend to give top recommendations to the things that the people who have hired them want to see.

This hiring of a consultant, after the board made a big deal out of the Task Force, and the “experts” it was supposed to filled with, comes as a surprise. They were expecting this task force to do all the work the consultant is now being hired to do. Is this good idea to have two different recommendations, as you might expect from two very different groups? Or is this not a worry for the board, because they already know the final recommendations, they just have to have some paperwork filled out so that it seems like work has been done?

I wonder if the Task Force recommended the hiring of a consultant? After all, the T.F. members might have come to the conclusion that facilities consultations are difficult and specialist sort of work, and an expert is better at the job. In fact, you might say that having a group with a bunch of non-professionals in the school facilities field trying to give the school recommendations is like a task force with no healthcare experience giving recommendations to a dentist.

One of the task force “experts” is a dentist.

The TVN story continues using the discredited line from Truett that “maintaining the facilities as they are would cost $800,000 to $1.2 million annually for 10 years.” No, those numbers were only for a couple selected years, the costs would be below $500K in the later years of those ten years. And once again, neither the board or the superintendent will say the truth about those high costs – the football field replacement will cost $357K, and the total athletic program costs will require more than $700K just to maintain present facilities for the next ten years.

I’m thinking of putting up a post specificly to track the board and the superintendent on the issue of the football field replacement. The outside report said it would be needed in 2017, and yet there has never been a single mention of that cost by any member of the board. How long will it take for them to let the words out about that big new cost?

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