After long overdue attention to maintenance, repair, upgrades, and expansions, public officials throughout the country are preparing to launch projects to reverse the trend of deferrals. The inattention in the past resulted because there was simply no available funding. That inactivity is changing, and citizens, students and taxpayers will benefit.
Demand over the next two years may test the capacity factor for companies that specialize in renovation projects. The surprising number of planned projects already announced indicates a sweeping trend that could escalate quickly. A few examples of what to expect follow.
The governor of Kentucky recently announced an award of $75 million to Kentucky school districts for renovation of Vocational Education Centers. The Commonwealth of Kentucky approved nine more funding allocations for other renovation projects in school districts where vocational training is administered. These include school districts in:
- Christian County – $10 million.
- Bardstown Independent – $10 million.
- Johnson County – $10 million.
- Lawrence County – $9.28 million.
- Fayette County – $10 million.
- Magoffin County – $4.37 million.
- Knox County – $10 million.
- Trigg County – $10 million.
- Ballard County – $68,896.
The projects will all include upgrades of various types such as HVAC equipment, roof repair, expansions, renovations, and/or rebuilding.
The mayor of Kingston hopes to secure $14 million for the Dietz Stadium renovation, a project with an estimated total cost of $18.6 million. A bond election is under consideration as the best method of securing the funding. Construction is slated to begin in 2022. The renovation would involve the installation of new turf, renovations, and enhancements to the grandstand and locker rooms and the purchase of a new scoreboard.
Knowles Hall at the University of Montana is scheduled for major renovations in 2022. Approximately $12 million is allocated for facility upgrades along with an enhanced electrical system, upgraded engineering, and new landscaping and interior design work. Improvements will include a new roof and balcony enclosures.
The mayor of the town of Hamden announced that plans are underway to sell the Wintergreen School to an organization for $16 million. Funding from the sale will be used to either renovate or replace the Humphrey Fire House and to renovate the Keefe Community Center.
Pittsylvania County Schools (PCS) needs approximately $65 million for capital improvement projects. Currently PCS officials are asking the public to approve a 1 percent tax referendum in a November election. If the community supports the bond package, it will provide $47 million that would be used to launch numerous capital improvement projects. Additional funding will be used from revenue received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Several of the district’s schools require maintenance and enhancements. The John L. Hurt Jr. Elementary School needs mechanical upgrades, a safety vestibule, and an updated HVAC system, all of which are expected to cost $6.7 million. Southside Elementary School requires $4.9 million in entrance renovations and a safety vestibule. Both Brosville and Chatham elementaries are in dire need of updated fire alarm systems which will cost approximately $300,000 each.
The state of Oklahoma’s Long-Range Capital Planning Commission has presented its capital improvement plan that recommends an eight-year annual appropriation of $7.5 million for high priority capital projects. The Commission also recommends that 22 projects with a cumulative cost of $217 million be supported by funding made available through bond indebtedness. These projects would include $26 million for renovation to the Connors Building and $48.5 million for work at the Jim Thorpe Building. The James Crabtree Correctional Center is in line for a kitchen expansion to accommodate food services for 950 to 1,000 inmates.
Martha’s Vineyard Airport is focusing on a $40 million Capital Improvement Plan that calls for renovations and expansion of the 13,000-square-foot airport terminal. An increase in jets at the airport has prompted a need for better access to the airport’s fuel farm and for additional hangars. According to the plan, improvements could start as early as 2022, pending regulatory approvals and funding, with runway reconstruction occurring in 2023.
The Arlington County Board has approved a $1.25 billion three-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on meeting Arlington’s existing commitments, addressing critical infrastructure maintenance, and beginning investments in long-term capital projects. Due to significant enrollment growth, Arlington Public Schools is included in the county’s bond referendum scheduled for November. The county hopes to receive support for $23 million for projects that include HVAC replacements, campus relocations, kitchen renovations, accessibility improvements, parking expansions, new field turf installations, and overall infrastructure on many campuses.
Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) hopes to receive more than $1.15 million in legislative bond funding to pay for design work on a 55,000-square-foot renovation project. The design stage will be followed by a $28 million construction process to modernize the physical education building and the Bellows Academic Center. The proposed renovation will include a new public entrance and construction of a new second floor connection between the two buildings. The Bellows building will be equipped with new active learning classrooms, lab spaces, and student research areas. A $1.5 million pool area renovation is scheduled to begin in 2022.
Companies that provide renovation services will be in high demand in the coming months. And, other firms that provide technology, electrical systems, landscaping services, and products essential to construction upgrades will find an abundance of opportunities related to upgrades already planned for public assets.