Sandy Loy recently shared his frustration and confusion with the whole process of the Campaign for a New Carter School. Loy said he was invited by Mayor Burchett last week to come downtown and discuss how to save the school. He readily accepted the invitation to share his knowledge with high hopes of helping to secure the new, much needed school for the boys and girls in the Carter community. However, he left that meeting full of frustration and sadness.
Loy says he is frustrated with hearing Hugh Holt tell him they couldn’t take the Devon Group’s design and hand it to the second bidder to build…when that is exactly what they have done. Loy says Burchett and others at the meeting told him they needed to avoid going back in front of the school board because they fear that any new plan will be rejected. The school board’s approval clearly included the design by Devon, but not necessarily the Devon Group itself. Burchett said the design had to be delivered as shown to the board in his opinion and apparently Hugh Holt’s as well.
Loy says rumors are abound that two and possibly three of the school board members have made it plain that they will flip their vote if a new plan is set before them. Loy says one school board member said she was “…sick and tired of hearing about a new Carter School.” Loy said going to a second bidder is normal practice when bids are based on a common set of plans, but in this case to take the design used for one bidder’s bid and hand it to a second bidder, when the design was a part of the selection criteria, is a recipe for problems, not the least of which is a lawsuit by bidders 3 through 6. These bidders might want a chance to price those plans.
Loy concluded, “I just don’t understand why building schools has to be this complicated. I am fearful that all this confusion and reposturing is going to give the Board a reason to reimplement the renovation. They can still rescind their approval of the inter local agreement because it hasn’t been ratified by the commission. Everyday this issue sits out there is another day it is exposed to being sabotaged. This could have been done so much simpler, especially if the County has the money to pay for it now. This developer route is going to cost us up to $2,000,000 in finance charges even if we pay for it when complete. Quite frankly, I am ready to throw my hands up, I have never seen a government so intent on spending as much as they can for a building.”
Loy has suggested the school for 600 students could be built for $10 million as he has seen other schools in our area being built for that cost. Loy says our county is trying to spend $3 million more than is needed.