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and actually obtain those funds, ….

and actually obtain those funds, …. and actually obtain those funds, ….

and actually obtain those funds, you can always deny the grant at a later date,” he said.

Superintendent Sherry Baker said Buss’s experience has shown him that FEMA money is not always going to be available more than once.

“Once you turn it down, you’ll never get another crack at it,” she told committee members.

The district is at the point where it needs to start making plans for the dome to be built.

Baker said the board can either hire an architectural engineer — like it did when it built new classrooms two years ago — or hire a construction manager/ architect, but that could present some issues due to federal funding rules.

Under those rules, the firm that puts together the specs for the building must be very careful when placing a bid to also do the construction. Buss said most construction managers will want to try and do some of the work themselves.

“If that is the case, the construction manager cannot be involved with the front-end specs and the construction drawing...” he said “...because they could potentially write those specs so they have a competitive advantage in the bidding process.”

Buss said “that could actually sideline them during the design process, which complicates things.”

To avoid that type of issue, Baker and Buss recommended the board seeks proposals directly from architectural firms.

Baker said the board is under no obligations to hire a firm once the district sends out requests for proposals.

“Just because you put something in an RFP doesn’t mean you’re committed to it,” she said. “It just means you’re asking for bids.”

Baker said the board’s finance committee needs to meet and agree to using district money on architectural services.

“We don’t want to draw off that grant until we know we’re getting ready to go,” she said.

Buss said any expenses incurred by the district before the grant is officially accepted cannot be reimbursed by Wisconsin Emergency Management, the state agency that distributes FEMA funds.

Baker said she would like the full board to act on the committee’s recommendation at its Dec. 21 meeting so the district’s administrative team can prepare the RFPs and send them out in time for a firm to be hired in early 2021.

“I think it’s doable to go out for RFPs for an architect and then you decide ‘Are we really ready to move forward on this, and are we ready to pay for this?’” she said. “Because, at some point, we are going to need that grant.”