Quick answers aren't a necessity. It will be several months before the site needs to be operational since the last fair took place in April.
I've had some experience and prefer not to write in pure html. We attempted SOAP in a class last semester but it was running Windows so it didn't turn out well. It seems as though it would initially be a hassle, but would be easier to maintain in the future. (Obviously, not on a Windows server, but Linux is an option)
Since we never got it working, I was hoping for input on other's experiences with SOAP, SQL, and the other web technologies.
The design tools for VB.Net are easy to use, but since the site has already had problems with that platform, it may not be a good idea for a site that won't have continuity of administration.