MIDLOTHIAN — Midlothian ISD School Board selected Charter Builders as the Construction Manager at Risk for the design and construction of Midlothian’s second high school at their Sept. 19 meeting.

The school board’s selection of Charter Builders means that the district will enter into negotiations with Charter Builders on the construction cost of the project. The selection of Charter Builders as the CRM is dependent upon successful negotiations and an agreement on all aspects of the project between the two parties.

“If I had to vote after Charter Builders had delivered their presentation, I would have been standing on the table with a Charter Builders T-shirt on,” Board President Duke Burge. “They had the slickest presentation.”

The board was split on the decision due to the about $400,000 price difference between Charter Builders’

construction and the bid from the other potential construction managers at risk.

“In the times and economy that we’re in, $400,000 makes a big difference,” Trustee Cindy Williams said.

Burge and Trustee Tom Moore were both on the committee that saw Charter Builders presentation, and both board members agreed that the $400,000 differential was a surprise and made the decision very hard.

The first vote for the selection of Charter Builders as the CMR failed, 3-4. After much discussion about Charter Builders’ experience working with VLK Architects and Building Informational Modeling (BIM), a second vote was cast and Charter Builders were selected 4-3.

“Building Informational Modeling is the process of building a digital model of the project from shop drawing and working closely with the subcontractor,” VLK Principal Leesa Vardeman.

MISD stipulated in the negotiations that the selected CMR would use BIM in its construction process, because BIM has proved to eliminate many of the uncertainties found during the construction phase since those uncertainties can be found during the digital design phase. This ultimately means less waste of construction materials and less possibility for unforeseen complications during construction.

“After the construction is complete, you are also left over with a digital model that is very close to as built,” Vardeman said. “You can go back to that digital model to see where electrical, plumbing lines were run.”

Other deciding factors for the board included, Charter Builders increased number of staff working on the project, a completion deadline shorter than MISD’s projected 95 weeks, and the company’s overall experience and expertise.

The board heard a report on the 2011 second quarter economic and housing analysis. The report showed that Ellis County unemployment is at 9.8 percent, while national unemployment is at 9.3 percent. The rate of new homes starting up was somewhat deceptive for projecting kindergarten enrollment, because new families are not the main category of house buyers this quarter.

The student enrollment rates were under their projected numbers. Enrollment was under -133 at the elementary level, -30 at the middle schools and -50 at the high school level.

The board also heard an annual audit report for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2011. It was commented that because of MISD’s strong financial position and bond interest rates, the district has saved the taxpayer’s money.

The board also reluctantly approved, 6-1 with Jay Roberts dissenting, to cast their votes for Joe Pitts, Phillip Lynch, Jonny Johnson and Ken Marks for the Ellis Appraisal District Board of Directors.

“I don’t know how else we can further express our extreme displeasure with the board,” Williams said.

In other action, the board:

• scheduled a joint meetings with the Midlothian City Council on Nov. 1 and Student Council on Nov. 17.

• approved the setting the tax rate at $1.54 per $100. The current tax rate was voted on and approved by the community.

• approved hiring a new technical application personnel with funds from the state, instead of purchasing an online web-based package used in the past. The “tech trainer” will educate teachers on how to use educational technology in the classroom and assist them with any technical malfunctions or difficulty using the technology.

• awarded Danny Hemphill the Bus Driver of the Year Award from Property Casualty Alliance of Texas and gave his nominator, Brenda Stallings a t-shirt.

• approved the Eco Education for our Environment (E3) group’s plan to establish Frank Seale and Walnut Grove middle schools as eco-schools by initializing energy, water, green school grounds, and environmental curriculum projects.

Contact Aaron at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@wninews.com