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Board of Education Prepares for Relocation, Renovation

After a summer plagued with electical outages, no air conditioning and stifling conditions, staff of the St. Thomas headquarters of the V.I. Board of Education has some relief in sight.
The board is slated to move to offices at Barbel Plaza temporarily, following the wrap-up of a few administrative details with the landlord and Government House, according to the board’s executive director, Carol Henneman.
The board’s aging offices on Droningens Gade were the subject of an emergency board meeting in June, when members learned of the extent of the building’s failing electrical system.
“The electrical contractor suggested that we vacate the premises,” Board Vice Chair Keith Richards said at the meeting.
Since that meeting, the 10-member staff has continued working in tough conditions, without enough power to run the building’s air conditioning system, fans or other large electrical equipment.
Henneman lauded her staff for carrying on.
“Basically we are limping along with the facility,” Henneman said. “Even though things are less than perfect, [the staff] haven’t complained. They haven’t stayed home, and they continue to function. It’s not the best situation at all. It makes me feel like they really care about the children and the board itself."
Henneman was unable to date the original construction of the residentially purposed building that houses the board’s offices but said there were some clues as to its age.
“The structure was built in the old way with the kitchen removed from the house,” Henneman said.
A request for proposals for “Electrical and Roof Repairs for the Board of Education” was announced by the V.I. Office of Property and Procurement on August 9. Interested contractors can obtain a $50 copy of the RFP by contacting the Procurement Division.
A pre-bid conference is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Monday August 16, but officials did not confirm the deadline for submissions.
No potential bidders had yet been by to take a look at the project as far as Henneman was aware.
The move to Barbel won’t bring all of the board’s equipment and furnishings; some will have to be stored in the conference room during the temporary relocation.
Henneman hopes to be back in the renovated headquarters in no more than six months to a year.
Bidders interested in more information about the RFP should contact Sal Griffith at the Department of Property and Procurement at 340-774-0828, extension 230.

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