Superintendent Jan Broughton said the five corporations were notified Friday they were on the “short list,” and were invited to give their presentations Monday.
Visual presentations were made to Ray Thompson and Clarence Parker of the business affairs committee, Ralph Applegate and Broughton, by Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc., GBBN Architects, Inc., McDonald, Cassell & Bassett, Inc., MSA, Michael Schuster Associates, and Tanner Stone & Company.
Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc., and Tanner Stone & Associates, Inc. collaborated in the building of the new Portsmouth schools last year.
All five firms were brought in Jan. 19 to take a physical tour of the area where the complex is planned to be built.
“We took them on a tour of the schools, then loaded them on a bus and took them around the property,” Applegate said.
The land where the $10 million dollar athletic complex will be built begins on Gallia Street at the site of the old Portsmouth High School and includes Findlay Street, Ninth and Waller streets to Gallia Street.
The project will feature a new football complex, track and soccer areas, tennis and basketball courts, baseball and softball fields, a fieldhouse, support buildings, practice fields, walking paths, plazas and other facilities. In addition to new parking at the site, a parking lot at the new high school, along with another at the elementary school, would handle the overflow of vehicles.
“We want it to be a place that is citizen friendly,” Applegate said. “We want people to be able to come down and walk, or sit on a bench and have lunch. This is for the people of our community.”
Broughton said the community aspect of the facility is extremely important to the board.
“We want individuals in the community to be able to walk the pathways that we might want to put in here, the public being able to access to the track,” Broughton said. “The fact that it's located right here in the heart of the city, to me it just makes sense.”
Parker, who is president of the board, agreed with Broughton on the community aspect.
“These are outdoor facilities,” Parker said. “As much as we wanted our school buildings to be community accessible, there is always a security issue. But with this facility, you have the paths, and possibly picnic facilities make that possible.”
Broughton said one of the concerns the public had was the loss of outside basketball courts.
“This will allow us to give them access to the outside basketball courts and tennis courts, places for them to congregate,” she said.
After the presentations, the four rated each presentation and a list of the order of those firms that reportedly impressed them most was made.
“We will present the top three to the board Thursday evening,” Broughton said.
The list of five firms is being reduced to three, which will be submitted to the school board in its regular meeting Thursday so the process of making a final decision can begin.
Thompson said the criteria for the new complex was established early.
“We didn't want to be a cookie cutter complex. We want to be unique,” he said.
Broughton said she wanted to be able to have the communications open for talk on cost concerns with the firm that receives the contract, and said she wanted input from the coaches in the system.
“Thursday, the coaches committee will be leaving on a tour of some of the existing facilities in other areas,” Broughton said. “We expect them to look at six to eight complexes, depending on time.”
After Monday's all-day session in which the firms made their presentations, a meeting took place to discuss possible recommendations.
“There will be a discussion, then Ray and Clarence will make a recommendation to the full board Thursday evening,” said Applegate.
The Portsmouth City School District announced in mid-December the Clyde and Maycel Clark Foundation, Inc. had joined forces to help make the athletic complex an economic reality.
Broughton, said, in a release at that time ... “the two foundations have committed to work jointly to provide annual grants to the school district sufficient to retire substantially all of the debt needed to construct the project. This means that there will be no cost to the school district.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.