A Whole New Ballgame

The Governor’s proposal to use the Maryland Stadium Authority to expand the State’s school construction program builds off of their experience overseeing Baltimore City’s school construction program, but represents a change in traditional school construction processes in Maryland.

ballgameThe Building Opportunity Act of 2019 has been introduced in the General Assembly. The legislation accompanies the Building Opportunity Fund, included in the Governor’s budget and announced earlier this week.

The Governor’s Building Opportunity Act of 2019 and budgeted Building Opportunity Fund represent a major financial commitment to Maryland’s schools — and a significant departure from current practices in school construction project management.

The content of Senate Bill 159 / House Bill 153 aligns with the Administration’s description of the new program – it expands on the Maryland Stadium Authority’s current responsibilities as codified in the Economic Development title and includes a lot of new ink – sections dedicated to describing a new process for distribution of $1.8 billion additional funding for a statewide school construction program.

Here are a few notes on process from an initial read of the legislation:

  • The Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) will recommend public school facility projects to be funded from the new Building Opportunity Fund.
  • School boards will deliver buildable sites, ready for improvements and school construction to the Maryland Stadium Authority (Authority).
  • Before funding is approved, the Stadium Authority will enter into an MOU with the IAC and the relevant school board, or the county, or both, for the management and oversight of the school construction project.
  • The IAC may grant a waiver from the management requirement if the school board has adequate management resources and staff.
  • The Authority will have to provided detailed reports on any cost overruns, unbudgeted expenses, or unforeseen costs and actions taken to control costs for each project.
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An excerpt from the Governor’s proposed capital budget showing the plan for the Building Opportunity Fund.

For more information, see the Building Opportunity Act of 2019Inside the Governor’s $438 Million ‘Go-Ahead’ for Schools and the Budget Bill.