Posts Tagged ‘school construction’

Why Jordan Auditorium Renovation is Special to a Lot of Folks

January 31, 2010

The architectural firm that will handle the renovation of the Jordan Vocational High School auditorium hasn’t been selected yet.  (It’s in the last 7 of the 15 SPLOST construction projects.  Architects for the first 9 projects were chosen Saturday.)  When it is selected, I am sure somebody will let its leader know just how important their project will be.  That’s not to say the other projects are unimportant, but we are talking some real history here.

1947 JVHS Red Jacket Band, Jordan auditorium, Columbus, Georgia

That Jordan auditorium, which, in my view, is probably still the most impressive of all of the high school auditoriums in Columbus,  not only served the Jordan student body, but was used by the Three Arts League and other organizations. For Columbus newcomers, or those not old enough to remember, the Three Arts League was an organization made up of  Columbus cultural leaders who brought in world-class symphony orchestras,  solo performers, and roadshow Broadway plays and musicals from the 1930’s to almost now.   I don’t recall when it was disbanded, but with the River Center now in operation, it’s not needed any more.  

I went to see a school play in the auditorum a couple of years ago and was impressed that it had a fairly adequate stage lighting system.  I’ll bet it dates back to when the Three Arts League used the auditorum. It probably needs some serious upgrading.  Hopefully, that will happen when the auditorium is renovated.

The Jordan stage was home for the famous Bob Barr Red Jacket Bands that won national awards in places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.   Barr was the band’s first professional director, coming to the school in 1946 and leaving in 1963.  I was a member of the original band that he started in 1946.   Band practice was the highlight of every day. He was a hard task master, but also very entertaining, doing such things as breaking his baton when we didn’t play something right.  It worked. The band went from 17 pieces to 75 in about six months and played Beethoven’s “Eroica” in its first public concert before the Jordan student body.  He could be mean as a snake, and his expectations were very high, but he got results, and everyone in the band that I knew loved him.  Success means a lot to emotionally charged high school kids.  Remember when you were one?


MCSD Board Member John Well’s Resolution Calls for the Board to Stay Out of the Architect’s Pool

January 13, 2010

When the Muscogee County School District Board meets Tuesday, the architect’s pool will not be on the agenda, but the subject will, because board member John Wells is going to introduce a resolution calling for  Superintendent Susan Andrews to select an architect for a particular job.  “She then will have to defend her choice, as she should.  If she can’t get five votes, the choice should not be approved, but I think she can.”

This means that the board would have nothing to do with the pool selection. He believes there can not be a consensus on pool selection,  because each member of the board has its own constituency. That doesn’t mean there will be no pool.  She can have one which is selected by the staff, but the board won’t have anything to do with it. 

Will his resolution fly? He doesn’t know.

It seems to me that it’s important that this issue be resolved soon. Waiting too long to get the Special Option Local Option Sales Tax projects started can be quite costly.  If the economy improves and prices start going up, construction costs will increase.  All you have to do is look at how the delay in constructing the Mildred Terry Library doubled the cost to know what can happen.

Should being Local Count for More When MCSD Selects Architects for SPLOST Projects?

January 10, 2010

Should local architects get more consideration than out-of town architects when the school board decides on who will design and monitor the building of new schools and school improvement projects that are funded by $223 million of SPLOST money?  Or, should it simply be a matter of who can do the best job for the most reasonable price regardless of where their home office is located? Those are questions the Muscogee County School Board could deal with during Monday’s work session.

When the board was presented with the nine architects who were selected to be in the pool of those considered for the SPLOST construction jobs, board member John Wells wanted to know why there were not more local architects.  Of the nine, only two were local.

School Board Chair Philip Schley told me that he, too, would like to see more local architectural firms in the pool.  He added, “”The 9 that were selected were the ones that made the cut. If we add more local firms, we will have to alter the criteria rules.”  

MCSD Construction Division Director Robert Hecht  also says he would like to see more local architects being considered. However, proximity was a factor that was considered when the nine were selected.   5 percent of the grade was proximity to a building site.  30 percent of the grade was a firm’s prior record of experience in the planning and design of school building team members qualifications. 20 percent was consideration of a firm’s ability to provide services in a timely manner consistent with the schedule.  Another 20 percent is references satisfactory to owner, which in this case in the school board. 5 percent is a firm’s Leed certification experience with school building projects. Leed sets up criteria for building environmentally friendly buildings. And 20 percent of the weighting process is a firm’s value engineering quality assurance  approach and cost estimating methodology.  Using that weighting system,  the committee came up with the nine in the pool.

If the school board decides it wants more local architects in the pool, Hecht says he is prepared to add more.