Proposals for city courts building due Oct. 31

Published 6:49 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2019


The City of Franklin has issued a request for proposals soliciting architectural firms for security-related renovations to the city’s combined courts building on Pretlow Street. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31.

In addition to “security upgrades for the protection of the judges, staff and public,” the RFP’s scope of services includes “an assessment of the overall physical condition of the facility and an analysis of future needs that may require modifications or renovations to the facility.”

Specifically, the firm chosen will be tasked with meeting with city staff, judges and the Southampton County Sheriff’s Department — which provides security for Franklin’s courts building — and preparing preliminary space diagrams for a renovation that meets all guidelines established by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The firm will also be tasked with assisting in the creation of a phased construction timeline that will minimize impacts to the courts’ operations.

City Manager Amanda Jarratt had stated in early September that part of this renovation may include adding a corridor from the building’s foyer to the clerk’s office, which has a separate entrance, thereby creating a single point of entry. Another part may involve creating a gated parking area for judges and other court staff, separate from the main parking area. She added that per a recommendation from Councilman Greg McLemore, the final draft of the RFP, which was issued on Oct. 7, now states that general contractors are also invited to submit proposals.

McLemore, on more than one occasion, has questioned the need to hire an architect and has suggested the city could potentially save money by just hiring a general contractor. In the event that the city still chooses to hire a separate architectural firm and general contractor, the RFP states that the firm is to assist the city in the selection of the contractor.

Cost does not appear to be a factor in how the city will select an architect or contractor from the proposals it receives. According to the RFP, offerors are not to provide any estimated project costs in their proposals, but may give nonbinding estimates of the total project cost during the discussion stage per the competitive negotiation process outlined in Virginia Code 2.2-4302.2.

The RFP specifies that the City Council will rank the proposals as follows: specialized experience and qualifications of the firm with planning and designing courthouses will count for 50 percent; experience with phasing construction within an occupied courthouse will count for 20 percent; familiarity with the Virginia Courthouse Facility Guidelines will count for 10 percent; the firm’s record in completing similar projects on time and within budget, without change orders or additional fees will count for 10 percent; and completeness and responsiveness of the proposal will count for the remaining 10 percent.