Guilford County Schools to hire consulting firm for school renovations

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Many Guilford County schools need some major renovations and district leaders plan to spend up to $1 million hiring a group to recommend which schools should take priority.

"Every year we hear about leaky roofs and HVAC systems that are not working properly," Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips said.

But the district doesn't have enough money to fix them all.

"The problem is we also have so many of those real needs in so many different schools around the county, the effort will be to try to prioritize those," Guilford County School Board Chairman Alan Duncan said.

County commissioners and the board of education created the Joint Facilities Committee to solve the problem. It's first task is to hire a consulting firm which could cost between $500,000 and $1 million.

"An outside, independent, objective perspective, in my view, is always best, particularly when you're looking at the size of Guilford County Schools," Phillips said.

The firm will look at the district's 127 campuses and hundreds of buildings, most of which are more than 50 years old.

The committee thinks hiring an outside firm will save money in the long run and hopefully satisfy those parents who want their students learning in the best possible environment.

"Every parent knows the needs of their child's school extremely well," Duncan said. "They don't know the needs of the rest of the 127 schools, but they know their own child's needs very well, and that's a great thing. They're really invested in it."

The committee narrowed down eight firms that submitted bids to four at Tuesday's meeting. The committee plans to pick the final firm to do the study in one week.