The Prince George’s County Council voted to advance a public-private partnership (P3) plan to build six new schools in the county.
The county plans to build five new middle schools and one K-8 school by 2023 by partnering with contractors in a first of its kind initiative. The resolution was voted on (8-3) after previously being postponed due to concern of criticism including whether there was enough involvement of minority-owned businesses. This concern was alleviated after companies receiving the $1.24 billion contract stated their intention to strive for 20 percent engagement from minority-owned firms located in Prince George’s County.
Dissenting voters stated concern with transparency in the process and questioned the timing due to the pandemic and how classrooms may look once children return to school, as Prince George’s has said students will not return until at least late January. Supporting voters agreed that the partnership is critical to addressing the backlog of over $8.5 billion in construction in the county.
The Prince George’s County Board of Education also voted (11-1 with one abstention) to approve this public-private partnership. The P3 will finance, design, and build the schools as well as maintain them for 30 years, although the County will retain ownership of the schools. In exchange, the school system will pay $1.2 billion over 30 years. According to WTOP, “under traditional public funding, it would take up to 16 years to complete [these projects], while the partnership projects are expected to be completed in three.” This partnership is expected to save the County approximately $174 million in deferred maintenance and construction costs.
In a press conference, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks stated that this partnership “is well-needed and well-deserved by all of our families who have said to us they did not want delay. They did not want us to be bound up in bureaucracy. They wanted action.”
School affected by the decision include:
- Walker Mill Middle School
- Drew-Freeman Middle School
- Kenmoor Middle School
- Hyattsville Middle School
- Adelphi Middle School
- New southern area K-8 school
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.