Dr. Tom Deighan

In a regular meeting of the Duncan Public Schools Board of Education, superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan went over the selection process for choosing an architect now that the DPS 2020 Vision bond has passed.

In the first step, stage one, architects were invited around the state to interview.

“I went to OSSBA (Oklahoma State School Boards Association) in CCOSA (Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration), who are the architects that support OSSBA in CCOSA, who are known for contracting school facilities,” Deighan explained.

Seven architects were invited and six came for an interview. With one architect backing out before the interview, Deighan said they ended up interview five architects.

“Everyone of these architect firms are well respected, I’ve worked with three of them personally,” Deighan said. “They have all done great jobs, they have good reputations.”

Six staff members, including Merry Stone, Channa Byerly, Len Lawson, Bobby Cook, Boone Copeland (who has since left the district) and Dr. Deighan served on the committee.

“From this process we had a very clear front-runner emerge,” Deighan said.

In the next stage, the committee looked at specific criteria for the selection process.

The committee looked at the firm’s history of quality of design and construction; projected costs aligned to recent or similar projects; the firm’s history of projects being completed on-time and on-budget; coordination and integration with exhausting DPS stadium structures and design; the firm’s ability to meet community, district, and students needs and culture; the firm’s recent projects and references; the cost analysis comparisons for other structures listed; the overall rating of Stadium Project Vision; any key issues such as ADA access for the stadium, construction manager at-risk vs. general contractor — their preference; city and coding; and flooding issues.

“They all knew the same criteria would be asked and expected of them,” Deighan said. “They knew exactly what to prepare for.”

According to Deighan, the firm chosen was the only firm willing to admit and mention a mistake they make.

“I though that was commendable,” Deighan said.

For the specific needs the committee was looking for, Deighan recommended Kerr 3 Architects after checking out other districts for which they built projects.

Deighan said they offered the most details, best cost per square foot analysis and they provided the best information to develop estimates.

“They were the best of all of them that captured our Duncan culture and expectations,” Deighan said.

Deighan went around to several other districts to compare and contrast the work done within these districts and how they would compare to the needs of Duncan. The Kerr 3 Architects’ history showed they could work with small-towns and larger towns.

Other districts include a school in Calumet where they did an integration between an old building and a new building.

“One of the key factors for me — it’s one thing to build a whole new building, but it’s an entirely different issue to try to mesh the two together,” Deighan said.

Another building, in El Reno, received an update to a 1950’s gymnasium, and the architects were able to merge the old and new as well. On top of it, they made the restrooms into storm shelters in this building.

Deighan said: they were talking about these for the Halliburton Stadium.

“They have experience in integrating storm shelters into the restrooms, etc.,” Deighan said.

Another project included in the stadium for El Reno came in the form of the parking lot.

Deighan also visited a project out of Putnam City West High School, where they renovated the inside and outside of the cafeteria.

“They are currently constructing a safe room,” Deighan said. “They used two different construction methods — foam forms with concrete poured in the middle, creating a very secure and extremely energy efficient.”

The other method, Deighan said, was bringing in pre-formed concrete slabs. He said another elementary school at Edmond was designed with the concrete slabs.

The last project looked at was Guthrie Stadium, where they had a wall challenge to work around as well.

“They redesigned this entire stadium to fit with the old architecture so it captured the spirit and flavor of the community,” Deighan said.

The same firm worked on a local project in Velma-Alma with a cafeteria project and an auditorium project.

“From the cost estimates here, I’m feeling much, much better about our estimates,” Deighan said.

The board agreed to invite Kerr 3 to the next board meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at the Administration Building at 1706 W. Spruce, Duncan.

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