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ClearScapes is top choice

GATESVILLE – ClearScapes is the clear cut winner.

The Raleigh-based architectural firm was the top choice of the Gates County Board of Commissioners to provide engineering details in an effort to save and restore the county’s historic courthouse.

At their Nov. 21 meeting the commissioners were in unanimous accord to select ClearScapes over five other firms.

It was at their Oct. 5 meeting where the commissioners formally launched an effort to restore the local landmark. The late Federal style courthouse, completed in 1836, is showing its age with cracks to the foundation as well as work needed inside. It is one of a small number of ante-bellum courthouses remaining in the state and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The county solicited RFQ’s (Request for Qualifications) from firms interested in providing the engineering details that will hopefully lead to renovations. A total of 19 companies responded and were interviewed by the commissioners on Oct. 26.

The board narrowed the list to the top six – Ware Bonsall Architects of Charlotte, McPherson Design Group of Norfolk, VA, MHA Works Architects of Greenville, ClearScapes, Oakley-Collier Architects of Rocky Mount, and Hager-Smith Design of Raleigh.

“The commissioners have determined the top six and ranked them (in order of preference),” said County Manager Toby Chappell at the board’s Nov. 21 meeting. “Does the board have a pleasure of how you want to proceed?”

“I would like to see us proceed by selecting the most qualified (architect),” said Commissioner Henry Jordan. “There were a lot of things an applicant had that we were impressed with. I would like to see us solicit a proposal from this applicant and if we like it, move forward with it.”

Jordan motioned to accept the top-ranked applicant, ClearScapes, as the architect for the old courthouse renovation project.

Prior to a second to Jordan’s motion being heard, Commissioner John Hora asked, “What will they actually provide…a plan of action?

“A plan of action and an actual contract,” Chappell answered.

“They will be self contained in one document or two documents,” Hora inquired.

“Whichever way we asked them,” Chappell responded.

“The first thing required will be the scope of the project and then a plan of action. The second thing would be a separate contract for what they listed in the scope of their work,” Hora noted.

“I don’t think you can have one without the other. The two are intertwined,” Chappell stressed.

Hora then offered a second to the motion which was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Chappell said he would contact ClearScapes of the board’s decision. Hopefully they will be able to put together a scope of the impending project and present it to the commissioners at their January meeting.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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