Charlottesville seeks firms to bid on Buford Middle School expansion

After several years of talking about making changes to Charlottesville City Schools to add sixth grade to Buford Middle School, the city has issued an invitation for firms to bid to do the construction and demolition work required. (bid page)

“The project is the result of about ten years of speculation and study by the City Schools and it responds to a need to take out one of the middle-year transitions for students Charlottesville City Schools,” said Mike Goddard, a senior project manager with the City of Charlottesville’s Public Works Department. “The ultimate plan for the project is to make Buford a three-year school so sixth, seventh and eighth grade will ultimately go to Buford and the fifth grade will be pushed back to the elementaries.” 

The project is funded up to $80 million. A future project will be to turn Walker Upper Elementary into a pre-K facility. 

An overview of what the finished Buford Middle School renovation will look like (Credit: VMDO Architects) 

VMDO Architects and the city of Charlottesville have produced a 2,171 page document for contractors to peruse, not counting the drawings. 

Goddard said the project will feature an addition and a renovation.

“We plan to add a major volume to the existing Buford School while removing the gym building for that school,” Goddard said. 

The base plans do not envision replacing the theater building and that work will depend on how the bids come in. 

To be eligible, firms must have built at least two school projects of more than $30 million within the last five years. A second requirement is a demonstration that the contractor has experience working on a phased project on an occupied school site. 

A site plan meeting was held on January 4, 2023. 

Bids are due back by March 14. The RFP states that work is to commence on June 1 of this year and be substantially complete by July 1, 2026. 

If you have more questions about the site plan, take a look at the video on the city’s website. You may hear a familiar voice but I disclaim I did ask a question as a community member and not as a journalist. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the February 8, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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