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South Boston Council backs new high school, urges bid construction / November 11, 2021

As South Boston Council were prepared to approve a resolution supporting the Halifax County School Board’s choice to construct a new high school, many members stressed the importance of competing bids.

“I am not a bit opposed to recommending the new high school,” said Council member Tommy Elliott before the motion was approved.

Elliott stressed the school system is putting all of its marbles in one basket with one architect and one construction company without other competitive bids.

“I think that is not a feasible thing to do,” said Elliott.

The School Board has selected PPEA partners Branch Builds and RRMM Architects to do a conceptual design of a new HCHS facility, but has not chosen the construction project team.

The motion to approve the resolution was made by Winston Harrell. All council members voted yes. Further discussion was led by Mayor Ed Owens.

“As a government agency, are they not required to get competitive bids?” asked Harrell.

South Boston Town Manager Tom Raab confirmed the town is required to solicit bids for work that costs over $30,000. Both Raab and Owens suggested the school board would fall under the same requirements. Raab noted that the school board would receive the bid and the county would provide the funding.

“I would hate to think with the questionable construction that has taken place in our recent history, that anyone involved with monies of any certain amount whatsoever, would never consider single bid or a single architect for a project of this magnitude,” said Councilman Bob Hughes.

Elliott expressed that he and the public have not seen a design plan for the high school yet.

“We could end up with something like we have now, that is the ugliest school that has ever been known to mankind. It looks like a prison; it doesn’t look like a school. How do we know what we are getting? And I think we are heading in that direction,” said Elliott.

Owens and Raab confirmed that the opportunity for community input will be held in the high school auditorium Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will include both the School Board and Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

In other matters of business, town leaf collection has begun and will continue through February. Town staff asks residents to keep the leaves on the curb and not in the streets. If the leaves are in the road, they will run into the stormwater drain creating clogs.

Also, please do not park cars near the piles of leaves and leave plenty of room for the South Boston Public Works crew to access the leaf piles with their equipment. Lastly, please do not mix sticks and limbs within the piles of leaves.

Council approved the appointment of Phillip Daniel Lloyd to the Halifax County Service Authority to fill the vacancy of Kelly Phillips though 2022.

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