Architectural firms respond to city RFP

Published 7:03 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

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Four architectural firms have responded to the request for proposals the City of Franklin issued in early October for security-related renovations to the city’s combined courts building on Pretlow Street.

In addition to “security upgrades for the protection of the judges, staff and public,” the RFP’s scope of services had asked for “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.”

As previously reported, 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.

Enteros Design of Richmond — one of the aforementioned firms to reply— has previously designed a new courthouse for the city of Colonial Heights, and is working with Goochland County on security upgrades at that county’s historic courthouse. Enteros’s proposal suggests beginning Franklin’s project by completing a needs assessment of the combined courts building, which would evaluate the facility’s physical integrity, current layout and size, electrical and plumbing systems, security measures, acoustics, lighting, accessibility and technology. The proposal further suggests enclosing the large covered walkway in front of the building to serve as an enlarged area for security screening and seating, and creating an enclosed parking area for judges and staff. Enteros did not provide any timeline for the needs assessment, but had the shortest proposed timeline for design and construction, coming in at roughly six months for the design phase and another eight to 10 months for the construction phase.

Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates Architects of Charlottesville has previously completed a study and renovation of Brunswick County’s courthouse, as well as a courthouse renovation in Prince Edward County. CRA’s proposal estimates a timeline of six months for the completion of the firm’s final study of Franklin’s courts building, but did not propose any timeline for the design or construction phases of the project.

The remaining two bidders are Raymond LLC, a nationwide firm with offices in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida, and BKV Group, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Raymond’s proposal highlights the firm’s experience renovating the Lewis F. Powell Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Richmond, and its renovation of the U.S. Courthouse and Customs House in New Bern, North Carolina, both of which were reportedly accomplished while the buildings remained occupied. Raymond proposes a timeline of 270 days (roughly 10 months) for the design phase of Franklin’s project, and just over a year for the construction phase, but did not submit a time estimate for a needs assessment.

BKV’s proposal highlight’s the firm’s experience with the renovation and new construction of multiple buildings in Loudoun County’s courts complex, and its work on designing the new Spottswood W. Robinson III and Robert R. Merhige Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Richmond. BKV then proposes a timeline of roughly three months for presenting its final report and renovation recommendations to Franklin’s City Council, and another eight months for the completion of the design phase of the project. Bidding the project to contractors would then take another two months, with BKV administering and overseeing the construction over the next two years.

As per the RFP’s instructions, no proposals contained any cost estimates for renovating the Franklin combined courts building. According to City Manager Amanda Jarratt, the City Council will discuss the proposals at its Dec. 9 meeting.