Five Firms Lined Up For Showell Elementary Work

BERLIN — A feasibility study for Showell Elementary School (SES) took another step this week when the Worcester County Board of Education approved a list of five finalists to design the school and agreed to begin interviewing the firms in November.
Joe Price, facilities planner for Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS), sent out a Request For Proposal (RFP) over the summer to 25 architectural firms and reported to the school board this week that a majority of them were interested.
“I sent out 25 RPFs, we got 16 responses. We have reviewed them and graded them and sorted them, and our recommendation is that the following five firms move on to the interview phase of the selection process,” he said.
The finalists include Becker Morgan Group from Salisbury, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates from Baltimore, Gilbert Architects from Owings Mills, Hord Coplan Macht from Baltimore and Smolen Emr Ilkovitch from Rockville. The board immediately noticed that only one of the five finalists, Becker Morgan Group, is from this side of the bridge.
“Is there a local content here with these architectural firms that we look for?” asked board member John Cook.
That is a consideration, according to Price. In a memo he wrote to the school board, Price outlined exactly what is looked for in an architectural firm that would be trusted with designing a school.
“The submissions were reviewed for compliance with the RFP requirements and were rated on a number of criteria, including size of the firm, experience in Maryland and Eastern Shore school construction and knowledge of the State of Maryland Public School Construction Program (PSCP) rules and regulations,” he said.
Becker Morgan has by far the most experience with WCPS, having designed Pocomoke High School, Snow Hill High School and Stephen Decatur Middle School. However, Price stressed that all five finalists will go through an extensive interview.
“We’ll have the firms come in and we’re going to give them 20 minutes to make a presentation, and then we’ll have 25 minutes for questions from the committee,” he said.
Price also pointed out that even if a local firm is selected, they will almost certainly subcontract a lot of the civil, structural and mechanical work so any firm that is chosen will probably be bringing in help from across the bridge.
The board approved the list of finalists for interviews, which will be conducted in early-November.