Four firms competing to move Newport News school bus facility

Theresa Clift
Contact Reportertclift@dailypress.com
W.M. Jordan submitted an unsolicited proposal in September 2014

Four construction firms, two of them joining forces, will compete to enter in to a public-private partnership with the city to relocate the school district's bus facility.

The facility, known as the SCOT center, for "service center for operations and transportation," stands in the way of developer W.M. Jordan Co.'s planned Tech Center research park and a potential Jefferson Lab expansion.

On Monday, the final day proposals were accepted, the city received two. One proposal is from Virginia Beach-based S.B. Ballard Construction Co. The other is a joint proposal from Oyster Point Construction Co. and Ritchie-Curbow Construction Co., both based in Newport News.

Newport News-based W.M. Jordan, the Tech Center developer, submitted an unsolicited proposal under the Public-Private Educational Facilities Infrastructure Act, or PPEA, to move the center. W.M. Jordan is planning to build five office buildings on the 33 acres where the bus facility now sits near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Oyster Point Road.

The two new applications propose moving the SCOT center to roughly the same area W.M. Jordan is proposing — between Jefferson Avenue and Turnberry, McManus and Bland boulevards, just west of Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport.

Both new applications propose building the new center on land within those boundaries owned by the city and its Industrial Development Authority.

W.M. Jordan also proposes using that land, along with possibly some land just south of there that W.M. Jordan owns under an LLC.

The portions of the proposals that outline the proposed cost and financing were not released to the Daily Press.

All firms boasted their experience building projects under PPEAs in the past.

The city may decide not to select any of the proposals, Newport News City Manager Jim Bourey has said.

"The city has three great proposals to choose from," said Stephen B. Ballard, president of S.B. Ballard, adding his firm is now building five Norfolk schools under a PPEA.

A public-private partnership is a contractual arrangement outlined in state law that can give private firms long-term claims on public money and property if they perform services normally done by the government.

The city follows a council-adopted process for how to handle the PPEA process, Bourey said.

That process "specifies that the staff will review the proposals, select the one that best meets the city's needs and negotiate a contract to bring before the City Council," Bourey said. "While there is no exact time frame, we will do this as expeditiously as possible."

The City Council will discuss the PPEA process at its next work session meeting Tuesday, Bourey said.

W.M. Jordan is also the developer of Marketplace at Tech Center, a retail and residential development under construction at Jefferson and Oyster Point, where construction is slated to be finished by November. The developer is funding that portion of the project, while the city plans to put $34.8 million toward the research park during the next five years, an amount that Bourey has said could change.

Clift can be reached by phone at 757-247-7870.

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