Baltimore County Expedites Air Conditioning Plans

Baltimore County will forward-fund the State’s portion of renovations to complete central air conditioning in all schools by 2017.

Following last week’s Board of Public Works meeting, Baltimore County announces updated plans for central air conditioning installation. At the Board of Public Works, the Comptroller and Governor voted to withhold $15 million in school construction funding from Baltimore County and Baltimore City unless officials there installed air conditioning in all classrooms by the start of the next school year.

As reported by WBAL News Radio 1090, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has responded that he would advance the state government’s share of school construction funding to expedite central air conditioning for every elementary and middle school classroom by fall 2017.

Baltimore County describes how the county will fund the air conditioning project with the expectation of reimbursement for the State’s portion of the costs,

Under the current program, for every one State dollar received for school construction, Baltimore County has invested two County tax dollars, more than the one-to-one customary match.  In the proposed FY17 budget, the County included $121.8 million to forward-fund a majority of the State’s share of the school construction program.  The cost of the remaining air conditioning upgrades is $83 million, with $45 million due from the State and $39 million due from the County, after accounting for past County payments of $15 million.

Now, the County proposes to further advance the State’s share of the remaining $45 million expense to complete by 2017 central air upgrade projects in every county school that is not otherwise slated for replacement or major renovation. Due to the size of the high school facilities, those projects will be completed by August 2018.  Therefore, the County will be forward-funding $166.4 million on behalf of the State, and will seek timely reimbursement.

As described in WBAL, it’s not yet known how or if Baltimore City schools officials intend to comply with the Board of Public Works request to install air conditioning this summer. The next Board of Public Works meeting is Wednesday, May 25.

For more information, see the full story from WBAL, Kamenetz Announces Air Conditioning Plans For All Baltimore Co. Schools Still Without It and the Baltimore County Press Release, and our previous posts on Conduit Street, Air Conditioning Unit Demand Meets Critique and Resistance and Dr. Lever Resigns From Top School Construction Position.