December 6, 2022

5/31 Memorial Committee Selects Two Design Firms for Phase II

​The City of Virginia Beach is one step closer to developing a permanent memorial in honor and remembrance of those lost on May 31, 2019, and those forever impacted by the tragic events of that day.

The City Council-appointed 5/31 Memorial Committee has completed Phase I of its process and selected two professional design firms to participate in Phase II.

Following a national solicitation, the 5/31 Memorial Request for Qualifications process resulted in four qualified submissions. With guidance from the City Attorney's Office and City's Purchasing division, the 5/31 Memorial Committee met on Nov. 16 and 17 to review and score all four proposals.

Using a combination of numerical scoring and consensus process facilitated by Dr. Larry Schooler of Kearns & West, the committee selected two finalist teams:

  • Dills Architects with SWA
  • Rhodeside Harwell, Inc. (RHI) with Kirkland Studio

Team profiles can be found at

During Phase II of the process, the firms will have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders. Ultimately, the firms will present conceptual plans, three-dimensional sketches/representations, written descriptions,s and other materials to effectively convey their design concepts to the 5/31 Memorial Committee and the community. An opinion of probable construction cost is required for each design concept.

The anticipated timeline of milestones is as follows:

  • Firms will provide stakeholder engagement plans in December 2022.
  • Firms will be provided the opportunity to visit sites and engage with the 5/31 Memorial Committee members and/or stakeholders in January 2023.
  • Firms will submit proposals in mid-February. In late February, firms present proposals for committee and public review. The 5/31 Memorial Committee expects to interview representatives from both firms.
  • The 5/31 Memorial Committee will solicit stakeholder feedback on designs throughout March.
  • In late March-early April, the 5/31 Memorial Committee will meet to select one of the two firms, and then will make a recommendation to City Council.

Committee Background

City Council appointed 13 members to the committee, representing a cross-section of the community and including family members and affected staff members. The City hired consulting firm Kearns & West to facilitate the committee and memorial planning process, to serve as a liaison to the families and survivors, and to create multiple opportunities for the families, survivors, and community to provide input into the planning process. For more information on the committee, visit

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts