RCS Board Approves Bond Project Service Providers

The Board of Education of the Rochester Community School District approved the bond project service provider recommendations as presented by district administrators at the Board meeting on Monday. This approval by the Board enables the district to enter into negotiations with the recommended companies.

“All of the firms interviewed were highly qualified with adequate experience in K-12 bond projects,” said Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business Dana Taylor. “After much deliberation and final scoring, the committee unanimously recommended the following firms: French Associates for architectural services; Frank Rewold and Son for construction management; and Convergent Technology Partners for Technology Design.”

Taylor thanked the committee members and the firms that participated in the process. “While we could not hire everyone, without all the participants, the process would not have been as successful,” said Taylor.

As part of the pre-bond election planning in September, the district issued requests for proposals for architectural, construction management, and technology designer services. The district received proposals from three architectural firms, three construction management companies, and four technology designer firms. A mandatory pre-proposal meeting was held by the district on October 2, and proposals were due on October 30.

A district committee was then formed for the purpose of reviewing and evaluating each proposal. The review team conducted interviews over a two-day period with representatives from all of the service providers who submitted a proposal. Each service provider was evaluated on specific criteria including:

  • Adherence to the RFP instructions and scope of services
  • Qualifications of the proposed staff for the project, including prior experience with K-12 
technology and construction projects
  • Relevance of the firm’s K-12 experience to the proposed elements of the district’s projects
  • Contract exceptions if included by the firm
  • Responsiveness regarding oversight of contractors and vendors, resolution of change orders, 
and attention to project detail and deadlines
  • Timeliness of the response to the RFP and clarification questions
  • Team compatibility
  • Fee Proposal

“Each firm that submitted a proposal also gave us a list of references,” said Taylor. “Members of the review committee formed a comprehensive list of questions and spent a great deal of time contacting schools and administrators who had previously worked with these firms.”

Criteria used in analyzing the responses from references for each firm were:

  • The ability to meet deadlines
  • The ability to supervise subcontractors and vendors
  • The experience of a district’s administration with the day-to-day communication process of the 
firm and the timeliness of the response from each firm to the districts in regard to problems as they arose
  • Oversight of bond funds and the contingency fund used by the firm
  • The firm’s relationships in working with other service providers involved in the project.

The district further issued requests for proposals to three financial management firms for senior manager of underwriter services. The review and evaluation committee evaluated each firm on the following criteria:

  • Adherence to the RFP general instructions and scope of services
  • Marketing plan
  • Firm qualifications, including the number of personnel and sales force, number of projects and 
dollar amount managed as a senior manager, and capital base

After final scoring, the review team unanimously recommended the award of senior manager for underwriting services to Stifel Nicolaus, and that J.P. Morgan and Fifth Third Securities be appointed co-managers of the issue.

“All three firms are highly qualified with varying degrees of experience and capital base,” said Taylor.

Taylor explained that the senior manager will get the majority of the bonds to sell and the co-managers will get a smaller percentage of the bonds to sell. “If any one firm specializes in selling a specific bond, then that’s what they will be given to sell,” said Taylor. “It will be a collaborative effort to ensure the best interests of the district.”

Taylor explained that the next steps include completing the contract negotiation process and having the firms agree in writing to perform the required work. “We can then move forward ASAP,” said Taylor.

In closing, Board Vice President Elizabeth Talbert referenced the passage of the bond proposal following the November 3 election. “Isn’t it wonderful that we get to choose providers tonight,” said Talbert. “Congratulations to the team and to everyone who helped to get this bond passed.”

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