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INDEPENDENCE — The Grayson County School System will try again to obtain bids to construct two turning lanes at the new Grayson Highlands School in the Grant community.
A bid opening was held June 8 at the new school, but only two bids were received.
Chad Newman, director of personnel and operations, said the bids — one from a local contractor and the second from a Wytheville contractor — were not opened because the school system had to have a minimum of three bids.
The project was rebid and another bid opening was set for this week. Newman said if no other bids were received, school officials would open the two bids and award the contract to the low bidder, providing the company met all the requirements.
The new $10 million school cannot open until the turning lanes are constructed, a requirement by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Newman said every effort would be made to get the lanes constructed so the school could open at the same time as other county schools on Aug. 9.
County Administrator Jonathan Sweet submitted the following memo to the Board of Supervisors regarding the turning lane situation:
“In an effort to provide assistance and evaluate all resources for the purpose of saving the county money on the Phase I project… I met with VDOT regarding the turning lanes and the potential of utilizing the Revenue Sharing Program to save the county 50 percent of the cost of engineering and construction ($300,000).
“I have been advised that if the school system would have applied for these funds last year when the turn lane ‘debate’ was taking place with VDOT, then the timing would have worked for our current timeline on construction regarding the turning lane situation.”
In other words, Grayson Highlands School might have been able to open as originally scheduled.
Sweet said later that the school system did not know about the program, nor was it ever informed of the ability to apply. It was not an oversight of the school board, but “I can't, however, say that it was not neglectful of the Clerk of the Works [Bill Ring], who was tasked with negotiations with VDOT and for advancing this leg of the project.”
Had the school board known about the program, Sweet said he is confident that it would have applied.
“The window of opportunity has passed and application would have needed to have been made last year for these funds to have been approved and allocated for our current construction project,” Sweet wrote in his memo.