Prince George’s County is now the first jurisdiction in the country to partner with the private sector on a multi-school delivery program.
Prince George’s County started the 2023-2024 school year by opening five brand-new schools, and a sixth is close to opening. The six schools are part of an innovative and first-in-the-nation public-private partnership for a multi-school delivery program.
Fengate manages the investment on behalf of the Fengate Core Infrastructure Fund III and its affiliated entities to build and maintain the six new facilities. A press release reads:
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) and Prince George’s County Education & Community Partners (PGCECP) are pleased to announce commercial and financial close on the alternative construction financing project to design, build, finance and maintain six public schools in Prince George’s County, Maryland, making it the first jurisdiction in the nation to partner with the private sector to bundle a multi-school delivery program, one which will deliver these critical community assets by 2023.
Formally known as the Blueprint Schools, the agreement between PGCPS and the lead member of PGCECP was finalized in mid-December. The project, an innovative approach to address aging facilities, will create six new schools by July 2023. Through the initiative that supports approximately 8,000 students, PGCECP will design, build, finance and maintain the new Drew-Freeman, Hyattsville, Kenmoor and Walker Mill Middle Schools, as well as a new middle school and K-8 school in the Adelphi and southern areas of the county. This pioneering delivery approach is the first of its kind for a U.S. public school system and is designed to build new schools faster, cutting the delivery time in half with lower construction costs and preventative maintenance.
The PGCECP consortium selected for the project includes:
- Developer: Fengate Asset Management (Fengate) and Gilbane Development Company
- Design-Build Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
- Designer & Architect of Record: Stantec
- Services Provider: Honeywell International Inc.
A new model
The Washington Post reported on the innovative and unique design of the public-private partnership Prince George’s deployed.
The partnership, which county officials call the “P3,” is one of the first of its kind in the country. Jason Washington, the district’s director of alternative infrastructure planning and development, said the schools opened quickly because the typical bureaucratic hurdles weren’t there: The school district would normally start with its five-year projected capital improvement plan, seek approval in segments and then wait until funding was available. Through the P3 process, Washington said, a developer handles the designs and finances the construction costs. Once the schools open, the district begins paying the developer back.
The public-private investment program also includes creating a $1 million endowed fund supporting scholarships, student internships, mentoring opportunities, and apprenticeships valued at $4.7 million as part of the school system’s Alternative Construction Finance Program.