Streetsboro district reaches short list of three architectural firms

by Mike Lesko | reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- The Streetsboro Board of Education has whittled its list of prospective architectural firms to upgrade the district's school buildings to three.

"I was very excited and energized," Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said. "I'm excited about [the next set of] the interviews. They are going to be that much more dynamic because we gave them some direction."

The three architects chosen for the final interview process are FMD Architects of Fairlawn, Then Design Architecture of Willoughby and VSWC Architects of Mason.

Streetsboro school leaders are planning a new high school and stadium that will likely be built on Route 14, while the existing high school will be heavily renovated to accommodate grades six through eight.

An addition will be built at Campus Elementary School at the Route 303 school campus, following the approval of a bond issue in November. The current middle school and Wait Primary School will eventually be closed.

Henry Defer Intermediate School would not be renovated, but would only serve fourth- and fifth-graders, according to the district's plan.

The district's facilities upgrade has been split into two separate projects, according to Daulbaugh. One project is the new high school and stadium, and the other is the renovations, additions and improvements to Campus and the existing high school. The district is planning to hire an architect for each project based on these interviews.

Between the two school projects, 27 architects applied, Daulbaugh said, adding that in some instances, architects applied for both projects. Fourteen applied for the middle school/elementary project and 13 for the high school project, he said.

Daulbaugh said he, School Board member Denise Baba and Treasurer Catherine Rouse conducted their short-list, pre-interview meetings with prospective architects Feb. 12.

"We talked about points of emphasis, that we want them to come to us during the interview and say, 'This is how we're going to address this in your project,'" Daulbaugh said.

Daulbaugh said he, Rouse and School Board members had to read submissions from each firm that were between 50 and 110 pages long.

"This represented 30, 40, 50 hours of work," Daulbaugh said.

School Board President Andrew Lesak said the applications "were unbelievably comprehensive."

"It took a long time to go through all of them," Lesak said.

Daulbaugh said Board members scored the applicants using score sheets from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, which is helping to guide the school districts through the process.

"The district had two people that scored, and the OFCC also scored," he said. "Once we combined all that data together, Mrs. Rouse and I put up the two score sheets. All the [school district and OFCC] scores were sent to Columbus. They have a mathematical formula where they combine all those scores. They create a short list of three for the high school project and for the middle school/elementary project.

"In the end, it was absolutely amazing because the same three [architects] that were our top three were the same three as the OFCC," Daulbaugh said. "We did this completely separately. We had no interaction with the OFCC during that process. It was designed that way. That makes the process even more real and effective.

"To me, it gave [me] a lot of faith in the process," Daulbaugh said. "There was no way to fix the process. It was very structured. There was a lot of subjectivity to it."

With three final candidates, the Board will visit sites of schools that the three architectural firms have worked on, between now and March 14. The architects will not be a part of that process.

"If you really want to see some really nice buildings and cool projects, go to their websites," Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said. "This is going to be a very competitive process."

The websites for the three architectural firms are:

• FMD Architects -- www.fmdarchitects.com -- has constructed school buildings in the Barberton, Keystone, Mogadore and Field school districts along with various projects at Stark State College and the University of Akron.

• Then Design Architecture -- www.thendesign.com -- has constructed school buildings in the Lorain, Cloverleaf, Dalton, Willoughby-Eastlake, Mayfield and Massillon school districts.

• VSWC Architects -- www.vswc.com -- has constructed school buildings in the Mason, Logan-Hocking and Loveland school districts and Ursuline College.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9439

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