The Board of Education approved Eppstein Uhen Architects as the firm to help with the facility planning process at its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 13.
Ames said four firms -- EUA, Bray Architects, Zimmerman Architectural Studios and Plunkett Raysich Architects -- were interviewed on Feb. 7. Superintendent George Mavroulis, Assistant Superintendent Sherri Cyra, Business Services Director Lori Ames, Facilities Services Director Bill Eberhardt and Facilities Planning Committee members Farhan Khatri and Dorothy Paler participated in the interview.
The interview team agreed EUA had the strongest presentation but there were concerns about their pricing, Ames said. EUA was contacted that night and made some adjustments. She noted that unlike the others EUA doesn't give a credit for any pre-referendum work should a referendum be successful but that cost is relatively small compared to what any firm would receive for its services should a referendum pass.
EUA's pre-referendum services cost $37,500, while all four companies would charge between 4.5 and 5.5 percent for services during construction.
Ames also noted any referendum questions aren't quite so easy to identify this time.
"We are in a different place right,'' she said. "We have issues at all three levels. Execution will be more important than ever. We really felt EUA was in a better position to help us do that.''
Mavroulis noted EUA has offices in Madison and also designed the Waunakee Intermediate School that opened this year. They are also helping Sun Prairie with a possible phased approach to referendums.
"They are phenomenal,'' he said. "They will take us to a new level. They are excited and we are excited.''
Representatives of EUA are scheduled to be at the Board's work session on March 6 and also plan to attend the FPC meeting later that month.