During the Oct. 18 Montpelier Roxbury Public School Board meeting, board members moved to hire TruexCullins, partnered with Engineering Ventures, as consultants to create flood mitigation plans for the district’s facilities, assess opportunities to improve facilities, and gather community feedback. TruexCullins is an architecture and design firm in Burlington, with “a significant amount of educational work across the world, and in Vermont,” said Libby Bonesteel, superintendent. Engineering Ventures is an engineering firm that works in the Northeast. The school board had sent out a Request for Proposals on Sept. 7. “We received three responses to our RFP for the facilities. They were all excellent,” said Bonesteel, who interviewed firms and checked references along with Andrew Larosa, MRSP director of facilities. The RFP was created “in response to attending the Montpelier city conversations,” Bonesteel said, having proposed to the school board “that it would behoove the board to move into an outside consultant to study facilities based on the traumatic events of this summer.”Bonesteel explained why she and Larosa recommended hiring TruexCullins. “Their core values of their work very much mirror Montpelier Roxbury’s core values for what we want for students.” TruexCullins has “developed this full child framework,” she said. “All their work is run through this.” The Winooski School District hired TruexCullins to design a renovation and perform community engagement, which could be difficult because of “diverse perspectives in languages and things like that” in Winooski, said Bonesteel. “I talked to the superintendent who worked with Truex in that process,” who “said they were magnificent through that.” David Epstein, managing principal at TruexCullins, “has tons of experience in community engagement around these types of projects,” said Bonesteel. “That has been his career.” TruexCullins’s partner “Engineering Ventures is actually doing a lot of the work here in Montpelier” for flood mitigation potentials, said Bonesteel. “Andrew knows them well,” she added. From the three firms they interviewed, “Truex was the cheapest,” said Bonesteel, at $62,500. She said one other firm came in at $74,000, and another came in at around $70,000 to $72,000. “We’re spending a lot of money on this report and study,” and “we want to be able to use this report for years to come,” said Bonesteel. “The other companies had excellent RFPs and have excellent chops,” said Bonesteel, but had “different skill sets.” A possible U-32 and MHS merger won’t be covered in depth by TruexCullins and Engineering Ventures. That would be “outside of the scope of what we asked them to do, mainly because they haven’t been hired by Washington Central,” said Bonesteel. “It will definitely come up,” said Bonesteel. “They can look at some very basic data,” such as “simple enrollment projections,” and building capacity. “Washington Central is going through their own facilities process,” said Jim Murphy, board chairperson. Next spring, “we’ll both be better informed about needs and desires.” The anticipated commencement date was Oct. 19. “This is a tight schedule, so that if it needs to influence, not this year’s budget obviously, but next year’s, it can,” said Bonesteel.