Category Archives: FPSC

Library Architect Selection Documents (part 1)

Thanks to a very organized open records response from the South Georgia Regional Library, we have available agendas and minutes of the SGRL Board and other materials related to the selection of an architect for the new library at Five Points. Here is a first batch of those materials, which sheds a little light on the library architect selection process.

SGRL Minutes 2012-07-17 According to the SGRL Board minutes of 17 July 2012 as approved at the SGRL Board meeting of 18 September 2012,

July 17, 2012

V. Architectural (Building and Grounds Committee)

The Firm of Clemons, Rutherford and Associates (CRA) was approved as the architectural firm for construction of the Five Points Library.
Moved: Ray Devery Second: Wyn Miller
Ayes: All Nays: None

No further detail is provided in those minutes.

Library Scoring Worksheet A Library Scoring Worksheet for the design and construction of the “Lowndes County Library” was included in the materials received in response to the open records request (it’s the extra item in the left edge of the picture in the previous post). It lists 30 topics with a potential score of 3 points each for a total of 90 points, grouped in categories of “Responsiveness/Quality of Presentation/Capabilty”, “Experience, Design Concept and Creativity”, and “Personal Overall Impression of the architectural team”. However, no marked-up worksheets with scores for any architecture firm were included.

The complete agenda packets for the SGRL board meetings of 18 September 2012 and 17 July 2012 are available on the LAKE website where more will be added later.

Next: the RFP.


Tired of seeing transparency be a constant source of tension —Barbara Stratton

Received yesterday on Bees in the library —VDT -jsq

Thanks for bringing up the question of selling the current library to SGMC. I tried to follow your link & did not see any reference on the page it brought up. I personally have been wondering why the taxpayers are not privy to any discussions of SGMC purchasing the property. Since SGMC has already purchased the adjoining properties, effectively land locking the current library, I would think the library board would have quite a bit of leverage toward negotiating price & we the taxpayers have a right to know what is transpiring between them. Everyone I have questioned states they cannot find out any information about proposed SGMC/library negotiations or discussions.

Thankfully LAKE does a lot to solicit transparency within local government entities & boards. I for one am tired of seeing said transparency be a constant source of tension. No one should have to constantly work to elicit information that should be readily available. I personally will not vote for SPLOST VII or any other proposed tax until I see local government become more accountable to taxpayers. SPLOST VII needs to die so a more responsible proposal can be presented. We complain about the federal government not balancing the budget, yet local government entities seem intent on devising lists littered with wants instead of focusing on needs as if the economy is thriving. I am an avid library supporter, but I'm not willing to blindly accept the current library board (or boards) opaque tax payer liability assignments.

-Barbara Stratton


Bees in the library —VDT

As its closing argument for SPLOST VII, library bookshelves the VDT argued that the library has bees in its brick walls. Sure and we need a new library. But they didn’t address any of the questions about the Five Points out-of-state architect plan for a new library or about the process by which that plan was produced.

Jason Schaefer write for the VDT 14 October 2012, SPLOST to solve aging library’s problems with modern building,

Plainly speaking, the South Georgia Regional Library is in bad shape. Half of the red-brick building was constructed in 1966, and the other in 1995.

Walking in, the atmosphere seems stuffy and archaic — stained ceiling tiles and old carpet, color-neutral walls and little decoration.

The wiring intended to service the computers is buried in the floor and unable to meet current internet standards, and the machines—35 to process 7,000 logins a month—are all clustered together in one area.

The HVAC system is antiquated, riddled with patches and still slowly disintegrating, and replacement of the system would cost upward of $2 million.

This and their other points are all true, and although I haven’t seen them, I have no doubt this is true, too:

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Library process transparency —John S. Quarterman

John S. Quarterman videoing SPLOST VII Kickoff Speeches It’s good to see that someone responsible for allocating millions of dollars of taxpayer money is willing to answer questions about related decisions, as Kay Harris is doing! It would be even better if there were a regular process by which the taxpaying and voting and library-using public could ask such questions and get answers.

If there were such a process, it’s pretty likely Ms. Harris or the Library Board or the County Commission would have been asked about the architect selection, considering I wasn’t even involved in that selection and my ear was scorched with complaints as soon as it was announced. Maybe Ms. Harris can suggest a way to produce such a process.

Let me take Ms. Harris’ points in order.

“First, they were the only one of the four finalists who did a full cost evaluation of the project, estimating $16 million while others were more than content to use the state’s estimate of $21 million.”

That’s very interesting news, which clarifies for me what she was getting at in the VDT writeup on that selection:

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Why we selected an out of town architect —Kay Harris

Received yesterday on New Library —Kay Harris. My response follows in the next post. -jsq

I was never asked why we selected an out of town architect, but will Kay Harris happily answer that question now. First, they were the only one of the four finalists who did a full cost evaluation of the project, estimating $16 million while others were more than content to use the state's estimate of $21 million. Second, they brought to the project a consultant who is considered the country's leading library consultant; only one of the other four brought in an outside expert. Third, the principals of this firm live right over the county line in Florida—they are within the 50 mile radius that is considered "hiring local", so they are indeed a local firm. They also brought a local engineering firm, from Valdosta, to the table, and have agreed to hire as many subs from the local area as possible. So I truly don't understand the "jab" about hiring non-local… if it was that big a concern, why not just ask me the question? Mr. Quarterman wasn't even in the room at the time I spoke….

-Kay Harris


New Library —Kay Harris @ LCDP 2012-10-01

At Monday’s Lowndes County Democratic Party meeting, LCDP Chair Gretchen Quarterman introduced Kay Harris as chairman of the Library Board. You can see that board in action a few weeks ago in these previous videos.

Kay Harris said she was not there as editor of the newspaper, since as such she wouldn’t be allowed (presumably by the newspaper) at a partisan meeting. She was there as chair of the library board. She said this is her fifth year on that board, and her second year as chairman.

Here’s a video playlist.

She said the county put her on that board to move along the library project, which had been in process for some time. She said she had led negotiations with the City of Valdosta for the Five Points process. She mentioned the Five Points Steering Committee, of which she is also a member.

About the current library building and how the new one would be better, she said,

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County Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan

Tuesday the Lowndes County Commission finally held the missing public hearing about the Comprehensive Plan, and it was pretty painless: only one citizen spoke, and she spoke for. If they’d held it two months ago like all the local cities did, they wouldn’t now be risking not getting state or federal grants because they may not be certified. They still didn’t distribute the draft STWP and ROA before the hearing as the state requires them to do, so they could still be in trouble with the state. However, at least they reset their timeline and held the hearing. That’s a step towards transparency as defined by the state guidelines the county already agreed in writing to follow.

Commissioners had as much to say as they did at the Work Session Monday morning: nothing.

The one citizen, Gretchen Quarterman, said:

I’m a super fan of planning, and I’m a fan of the Comprehensive Plan. I think that if we don’t know where we are going, and we don’t have a plan on how we’re gonna get there, we’re not gonna get there. And the five year plan that tells us exactly what we’re going to in the next five years to get to our 2030 plan is a groovy idea. So that part I’m in favor of. I’ve been over this document pretty thoroughly with Jason, and I still have some questions outstanding which I’m sure that they’ll get resolved. He’s been super helpful.

The one thing I talked to Mr. Raines about and I would encourage the other Commissioners to consider is that in section 4.5.1, at least that’s what I have it on my document. Investigate

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Retrofitting suburbia —Ellen Dunham-Jones

There are many jobs in this. The Five Points redevelopment is an example of what she’s talking about. It’s a lot better than building more sprawl: safer, less expensive, more jobs, less energy cost, more energy independence, better health, and more community.

Georgia Tech Professor Ellen Dunham-Jones spole January 2010 at TEDxAtlanta, Retrofitting suburbia

In the last 50 years, we’ve been building the suburbs with a lot of unintended consequences. And I’m going to talk about some of those consequences and just present a whole bunch of really interesting projects that I think give us tremendous reasons to be really optimistic that the big design and development project of the next 50 years is going to be retrofitting suburbia. So whether it’s redeveloping dying malls or re-inhabiting dead big-box stores or reconstructing wetlands out of parking lots, I think the fact is, the growing number of empty and under-performing, especially, retail sites throughout suburbia gives us actually a tremendous opportunity to take our least-sustainable landscapes right now and convert them into more sustainable places. And in the process, what that allows us to do is to redirect a lot more of our growth back into existing communities that could use a boost, and have the infrastructure in place, instead of continuing to tear down trees and to tear up the green space out at the edges.
Here’s the video: Continue reading

Planners Post for August —Alexandra P. Arzayus

City of Valdosta Planning and Zoning is trying to keep people informed about Five Points redevelopment and other things.

Received 12 August 2011, with attached PDF. -jsq

Hi all,

We have some really interesting projects and events this issue. Since school is back in session most are planning for football games and other semester activities. Since we are in the planning mode, please read our article on Community Planning Month in October. We have lots of fun and exciting events for citizens to participate in this year. Our theme is “New Ideas for America’s Future”. Since the youth are our future, we want to extend this invitation to any youth groups that may be interested in government and planning. Please contact us to RVSP for a lunch & learn or tour. We look forward to seeing you there!!

Also, check out an update on the Five Points Project and Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation.

August 2011 Planner’s Post

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Five Points Steering Committee presentation by Mara Register @ LCDP 1 August 2011

Mara Register gave a very interesting presentation about the Five Points Steering Committee (FPSC) last night at the monthly meeting of the Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP).

She sent her slides to me this morning for publication by LAKE. Here they are on the LAKE web pages, in PPT, PDF, and HTML formats.

She said there is no FPSC web page, but their meetings are shown in the calendar of events on Valdosta’s city website. The next FPSC meeting shown there is for 18 August 2011.

Date: 8/18/2011 5:00 PM
Location:Valdosta City Hall Multi-Purpose Room
300 N. Lee Street
Videos of her talk will appear on the LCDP youtube channel.

I will probably post some more here about what she said and some of the Q&A that ensued. Meanwhile, you can see the slides for yourself.