Transcript Staff Writer

In the event a 2006 bond issue is called and approved, Norman Public Schools will have their team set and ready to go as a services from an architectural firm and a bond consultant firm were confirmed.

In a special meeting Wednesday, the NPS Board of Education approved to extend contracts to Kaighn Associates Architects, Inc., Crowe and Dunlevy and Capital West. The selection follows a week after the board invited three architectural firms and four bond consulting firms in for interviews. Each was allowed 30 minutes make a presentation and answer questions in front of the board. At the end of the process, officials went with the experience and relationship they had with Kaighn and Crowe and Dunlevy, but added new partner Capital West as a financial adviser.

President Dr. Gary Copeland led off the meeting by stating the board was not dissatisfied with the previous work of Kaighn and Crowe and Dunlevy. He also said it was about being a "prudent manager" of the district.

"We wanted to ensure we have the best possible services," he said as the reason the board solicited proposals.

Kaighn's selection seemed to be an easy pick for the board, while the appointment of a bond consultant took more time.

"All three (architectural firms) were very attractive and do solid work and have some Norman connections," Copeland said. "But in the end, the committee felt we have a long standing relationship with Kaighn and Associates."

Following the announcement, Copeland described the bond consultant selection.

"With the architect, we knew what we were comparing ... this was a bit more challenging," he said.

Copeland was alluding to some factors that have become issues for the district. Growth has pushed the district into a new arena where bonding capacity has increased, assessing millage is more complicated and financial stability is a must. To handle the needs of the district, Crowe and Dunlevy will take charge of the legal issues while Capital West assume the role as financial adviser. Contracts will be negotiated by Superintendent Dr. Joseph Siano. Crowe and Dunlevy handled both responsibilities in the past.

"We are at a point where a financial adviser would be advantageous along with good legal advice," Siano said.

Tony Pennington 366-3541 schools@normantranscript.com

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