The Barrow County Board of Education is expected to approve next month a pair of construction managers at-risk for several school building projects, including the eventual second phase of Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy and a future elementary school next to BASA on the school system’s Austin Road property in Winder.

District officials recommended during the board’s Tuesday, Nov. 17 work session that Grahl Construction of Athens serve as construction manager at-risk for renovations to Auburn Elementary School and the district transportation services building on Hal Jackson Road in Winder, as well as the second phase of BASA, which is slated to include additional classrooms and other facilities. Meanwhile, Charles Black Construction of Cleveland was recommended as the construction manager at-risk for renovations to Holsenbeck Elementary and the district’s Center for Innovative Teaching and construction of the future elementary school.

Joe Perno, assistant superintendent for system operations, said the projects were packaged in such a way to appeal more to companies by including both renovations and new construction. Each package includes a “stated cost limitation” of $25 million for planning purposes, but Perno said district officials will bring a guaranteed maximum price for each project back before the board before construction were to proceed. Time, market conditions and inflation will affect the price of the new schools, but both companies are comfortable that the packages of projects could be completed within a $25 million budget, Perno said.

While there are no immediate plans to begin the new construction, Perno said district officials are trying to plan in advance to cut down on future costs. Cunningham Forehand Matthews Moore was hired earlier this year for design and architectural services on BASA phase 2 and the new elementary school and was hired earlier this month for the same work at CFIT and the transportation building.

Perno said the district hopes to take some savings from “guaranteed maximum prices” on other projects and apply them to an early-grading proposal for the elementary school as well as a future middle school at the Austin Road property.

A total of six firms submitted proposals for each package, and district officials recommended Grahl Construction and Charles Black Construction based on the depth of their proposals and familiarity with their previous work.

Charles Black Construction led construction on the first phase of BASA and oversaw renovations to Statham Elementary last summer. Grahl’s previous work for the district includes renovations to Apalachee High, Westside Middle and Yargo Elementary schools.

“We’ve worked with both these firms extensively in the past, and they’ve always done quality work,” board chair Lynn Stevens said.

Both agreements will be included on the consent agenda at the board’s next voting session, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1.


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