Knoxville, Tenn. (April 4, 2011) — With the closing of the bid period for the Carter Elementary School request for proposal, it is clear that a fresh approach to public-sector construction is welcomed by many private businesses anxious to work in a difficult economy. As of at 3 p.m. today, when the bid period closed, a half dozen bids had been received by the Knox County Purchasing Department.
“The level of interest in this proposal is proof that this construction concept is valid and shows that the private sector is eager to get to work on what is expected to be an innovative, cost-efficient project,” Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said. “I’m definitely encouraged, but we will still have to see what the numbers look like after the RFP review committee looks at the bids. Ultimately, the decision will be up to the School Board.”
The RFP was released February 13, after the Industrial Development Board agreed to act as the legal conduit for this innovative school construction project.
“Because we used this non-tradition approach to the RFP process, I think we have attracted a more diverse group of participants, and Knox County can only benefit from that for this and future projects,” Knox County Purchasing Director Hugh Holt said. “Firms from Colorado to Nashville and several surrounding communities, including Knox County, chose to participate in this process.”
The RFP evaluation committee will now begin reviewing the bids and recommend the winning bidder to the IDB. The IDB is expected to vote May 10 on whether to accept the evaluation committee’s selected bid, before the proposal can go to the Knox County School Board.
School Board members could vote as early June 1 on whether to accept the bid and move forward with building a new Carter Elementary School, or to reject the bid and move forward with renovating the school, which is more than 70 years old.
The RFP was developed by a committee that included six Knox County School administrators, three Knox County Purchasing employees, one Knox County Risk Management employee, two private-sector experts and an out-of-state advisor familiar with projects similar to the proposed Carter Elementary construction concept.
Doug Dillingham with Knox County Schools, Knox County Purchasing Director Hugh Holt and Pilot CFO Mitch Steenrod co-chaired the RFP development committee.