BGCS picks architect for facilities projects


Bowling Green City Schools have chosen ThenDesign Architecture to develop the district’s new master plan in preparation for a facilities project.

The board at its meeting Monday spent nearly 30 minutes discussing the merits of ThenDesign and Garmann Miller & Associates.

These two firms were chosen as the top two among the five from which submissions were received.

“We have a very vested interest in updating our facilities. …” said board President Ryan Myers.

The board in January agreed to advertise for requests for qualifications to find an architect to design a potential high school and update the district’s master plan.

That action was taken at the same meeting where the board agreed to apply for the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program.

The board met March 8 to hear presentations from these two firms.

Board member Jill Carr said both firms made excellent presentations and either could meet the district’s needs.

“I think it’s so important for the community to wrap their heads around how important it is for us to be able to pass a bond issue to build a new high school,” she said.

While no decisions have been made for a ballot issue, a new high school has to happen, she said.

Both architectural firms will be able to help us pass a bond issue and that is important to her, Carr said.

“It’s important for us to pick someone that will personalize the architectural design of our schools. …” said board member Norm Geer.

Every superintendent that board members contacted who has used either ThenDesign or Garmann Miller praised both companies, Geer said.

He said while it was difficult to distinguish between the two, ThenDesign has an architect who has been selected by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to revise its design manual.

ThenDesign also is asking for a $40,000 retainer it won’t cash until a bond issue passes, he added.

“When I read about board companies and heard their presentations … Garmann Miller stood apart,” said board member Tracy Hovest.

This company has an engineer, a campaign strategist and a communications manager on staff while ThenDesign doesn’t, she said.

Garmann Miller is familiar with the area as the lead architect for Otsego Local Schools, she said.

According to the Garmann Miller website, the firm also did the design work for the new K-12 school in Liberty Center and a new 7-12 school in Fostoria.

ThenDesign, based in Willoughby, has done extensive work in the Cleveland area.

“Seeing how we’ve been through this numerous times, we can’t afford to lose this bond issue,” Hovest said.

“I do like both of them, but I feel that Garmann Miller can offer us the extra things that we need to pass this bond issue,” she said.

“This is a good problem to have,” Myers said. “This is a win-win situation.”

Both firms are reputable with proven results, he said.

“We’re not losing out either way,” he said.

Hovest made a motion to hire Garmann Miller, but it died for lack of a second.

Geer made a motion to select ThenDesign, which passed 4-0.

“I’m going to support this board moving our district forward,” Hovest said.

The district will begin negotiations to come to an agreement with ThenDesign Architecture for master planning services.

According to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission website, the commission will perform an assessment of the district’s facilities. The district will choose a “distinct portion” of its master plan to fund through local efforts. When the district’s turn later arises in the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, the money spent by the district on the distinct portion is credited against the local share of the project.

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