Bob Gorrell, the State’s new school construction head addressed the 21st Century School Facilities Commission in Annapolis at the first meeting of the Commission since January.
Gorrell emphasized how Maryland could work towards greater equity and quality of school facilities statewide through adopting some of the methods used in New Mexico, where he served previously as Executive Director of the New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority.
Examples of methods used in New Mexico include:
- Focusing on long-term operating costs and whole life-cycle costs of facilities
- Developing school building adequacy standards
- Using a facility condition index and a needs ranking to create an impartial list of school construction priorities
Gorrell commended Maryland’s maximum square foot allocations for state participation as a positive practice and suggested that Maryland could be overbuilding its schools.
Overall, he suggested that the State could provide tools and technical guidance to support school boards, and less regulation.
For more information, including the powerpoint presentations from the meeting, check the 21st Century Commission’s webpage for updates.
MACo has advocated for reducing regulatory burdens that contribute to school construction costs. Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, one of the county representatives to the 21st Century Commission recently developed a report with several cost reduction strategies. For more information, see Ideas Add Up to a 10% Reduction in County School Construction Costs.