A little old lady in a Wendy’s commercial once asked “Where’s the beef?” and now Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson and others are asking, “Where are the school renderings we were promised?”
County commissioners, as well as Guilford County Board of Education members and other school officials, are asking that question. About a year and a half ago, Guilford County and the Guilford County Schools jointly funded a nearly $1-million facilities study and hired Tallahassee-based MGT Consulting Group to conduct it. One of the most important deliverables the county and the schools were supposed to see from that study was a completely new up to date set of precise CAD’s (computer-assisted drawings), technical illustrations meant to provide detailed information on all the schools to first responders and others.
Branson said that, for him, that was one of the key reasons he voted to fund the study – because a set of current drawings was important for school safety.
Over the years, there have been additions to schools and demolition of some sections, changes to entrances and classrooms and passageways; and, currently, for many schools, especially older ones, the drawings are out of date in a major way.
When the large facilities study was first commissioned, law enforcement, Guilford County Emergency Services officials and other first responders argued that it was very important for them to have access to up to date schematics of buildings in order to respond properly to many types of threats. That helped sell the commissioners on the plan and, though most of the study findings were presented in January, to the county and the schools, there’s still no sign of the set of updated drawings.
The commissioners thought they would see the full results of the study last September; however, that got pushed back to January, 2019, and even then the drawings weren’t delivered.
“We had another joint meeting about 45 days ago,” Branson said this week. “At that meeting, we were told it might be another 30 days, but there’s nothing yet.”
At a recent work session, Branson asked school officials about the missing drawings.
“As for the CAD design for safety and security, where is our feedback from MGT on this study that we have been waiting to hear back on for over a year and a half?” Branson asked school officials. “That’s one of the main reasons I supported the study and we still haven’t heard back – it’s pitiful.”
Guilford County Schools Chief Operations Officer Scott McCully said that he was also concerned about the delay.
“Actually, I agree with you commissioner,” he said. “We are behind on that deliverable.”
He said he anticipated it would be provided by late July or early August.
McCully also said it was his understanding that there had been some turnover in MGT staff that had caused some of that delay.