Energy efficiency advocate Anna Edey leveled criticism at Tisbury officials Tuesday afternoon about the planned renovation and addition of the Tisbury School.
Up to $55 million in bonds was authorized by Tisbury voters at both a special town meeting and 2021 annual town election. The Tisbury select board and school committee met jointly Tuesday and managed to both unanimously approve a “construction manager at risk delivery method” for the project. As The Times has previously reported, construction manager at risk allows the contractor to be interviewed and selected. In contrast, a design bid build project method requires taking the lowest bidder for the project. Tisbury officials previously expressed concern a design build project method could be more risky for an Island project. The board and the committee also both unanimously approved the formation of a construction management evaluation committee. No appointments were made to that committee, however.
As officials were in discussion, Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools Superintendent Matt D’Andrea noticed Edey had her hand up.
Tisbury school committee member Michael Watts asked if her question was related to the subject at hand — construction manager at risk. Edey said it was: “As a resident of Tisbury, it is my duty and responsibility to request that the selectmen please temporarily delay any further work or contracts with Tappé Associates — including what you’re talking about now — until we, the people of Tisbury, have a chance to investigate apparent malpractice committed by … Tappé, investigate the disadvantages of the Tappé design proposal, and consider other options that may be better than the Tappé design. We strongly disapprove of many aspects of the Tappé design for the following reasons and for many other reasons. They claim their design is solar-ready and net-zero, but it’s not even close. Their design falls 52 percent short …”
School committee chair Amy Houghton cut Edey off, and told her she was talking about subject matter outside the scope of the meeting.
Edey said she felt she had “a right to speak.”
Select board chair Jeff Kristal said he had read a letter from Edey, but Edey countered that what she was reading from was something different, and just drafted.
“So the board of selectmen are ready to move forward with this,” Kristal said.
“No you’re not,” Edey said. “No you’re not, because I’m protesting against it, and I need you to listen to me.”
Kristal noted the proceeding wasn’t a hearing but a joint meeting.
Houghton said the school committee had read a letter Edey sent regarding solar issues. She encouraged Edey to send the committee any other letters she had. Houghton requested that Edey limit her comments to the subject of a construction management at risk — “and that’s it, nothing else.”
“There’s not going to be any construction management because there is not a proper design yet,” Edey said. “OK, do you understand what I’m saying?”
“For two years we’ve been at this, OK?” Watts said. “I’m sorry you do not like the design …”
Edey interrupted Watts several times.
Watts noted the design was “voted on by a supermajority of duly appointed people from the school committee and the select board. There are people who dissented. You happen to be one of them, OK?”
Watts added the project is moving forward, and the project was funded based on the design at hand.
In a raised voice, Watts said, “You were given an opportunity to speak directly with the mechanical engineers. You turned it down. So when you can speak to us about your qualifications for a building of this magnitude, your credibility will go up, but today this is about moving forward with a construction manager at risk.”
Edey made no more comments following Watts’ remarks, and the board and committee moved to take their votes.