Volume 19, Issue 40 - Friday, October 1, 2021
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
As public assets become weathered over time, repair and maintenance costs accumulate. Without attention, the assets lose value and eventually become inefficient and unsafe. With local government budgets stretched to the breaking point, thousands of public assets throughout the country have spiraled into disrepair over the past few decades. However, there’s a growing trend to create an afterlife for these assets. The sweeping trend of ‘adaptive reuse’ is garnering significant attention and leading to some visionary partnerships.

Innovative public officials are now repurposing old, unwieldy, and abandoned public assets. Non-revenue generating assets are being salvaged by repurposing them. The result is that the upgraded and enhanced public assets are often repurposed to deliver revenue potential or some sort of citizen benefits.

Repurposing efforts usually cost less than new construction, and adaptive reuse initiatives revitalize and increase the value of public assets. Citizens and taxpayers benefit when that happens. Because public officials have struggled so long without funding required to address deferred maintenance issues, this type of innovation promises to become the norm.

City officials in Zanesville, Ohio, have announced plans to renovate an abandoned educational facility. The Munson Elementary School, closed since 2005, will now be repurposed into a modern, efficient, and affordable housing complex. This will be a collaborative initiative.

To address its $6.6 billion infrastructure need, the city of San Antonio is reviewing potential projects to include in a proposed $1.2 billion bond program for 2022-2027 for public vote on in May 2022.

In a September 29 presentation to the City Council, staff identified numerous improvements that are needed across the city services spectrum.

An estimated $3.1 billion in drainage and flood control work is needed. San Antonio’s streets, bridges, and sidewalks require $2.4 billion in improvements with 11 percent, or 457 miles, of streets receiving failing grades.

More than $567 million in projects were listed that would enhance the city’s parks, recreation, and open space facilities and amenities. Another $310 million is needed in municipal facilities improvements, and $198 million is sought for public safety facilities upgrades.

City staff narrowed that list of project needs to a proposed bond package including:
  • $868 million in citywide projects including catalytic initiatives at Brackenridge Park, the San Antonio Zoo, Botanical Garden, and museums. 
  • $678 million for 98 projects under the 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan. 
  • $671 million for flood mitigation projects. 
  • $100 million for failed street bond funding. 
  • $191 million for new facilities such as community centers and public safety structures. 
  • $259 million for Brooks, Downtown, Fort Sam Houston, Medical Center, Port San Antonio, and Texas A&M regional centers in the SA Tomorrow area. 
  • $252 million to renovate libraries, cultural, and art facilities and improve the resiliency of other municipal structures. 
  • $250 million for affordable housing preservation and production. 
  • $200 million for linear greenway trails. 
  • $90 million for Activate SA walking and cycling projects. 

San Antonio’s mayor and councilmembers are set to appoint bond committee members on October 13 to conduct bond committee meetings in late October through December.

City Council would consider a final project list in January 2022 and call an election in February 2022 for a May 7, 2022 bond election date.
More than $667.58 million in major and small-scale road construction projects are planned for the El Paso area.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officials updated the El Paso City Council on September 28 with details on 60 current and upcoming projects.

TxDOT anticipates advertising for bids on the $194 million Interstate 10 Widening West project in October. The project calls for widening I-10 from four to six lanes from the New Mexico state line to north of North Mesa Street.

All 29 ramps in this section will be reconstructed and reversed to alleviate traffic flow through the corridor by placing weaving movements on the frontage roads instead of the interstate. TxDOT will widen 37 bridges and bring them up to an 18.5-foot clearance.

In addition, TxDOT will reconfigure ramps, reconstruct existing frontage roads, make operational improvements, and install wrong way driver advanced technologies.

Another major project will widen Loop 375 from four to six lanes on the main lanes from Spur 601 to Montana Avenue and construct two-lane frontage roads. The funded amount is $54.66 million. TxDOT projects letting this project in May 2022.

Long-term projects include the $750.5 million Interstate 10 Segment 2 project in downtown El Paso that would reconstruct mainlanes, retaining walls, bridges, ramps, and cross streets on about 5.6 miles of I-10 from Executive to Copia Street. TxDOT is currently evaluating three viable options and performing environmental assessments that are expected to be cleared in summer 2023. The project development target is FY 2025, subject to funding.

TxDOT also is planning a three-phase $296.19 million Borderland Expressway that would serve as a Texas-New Mexico bypass and freight relief route to include a four-lane structure, grade separations, interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. TxDOT anticipates letting the first phase in FY 2023.

Another project set for a 2023 solicitation is the $193.5 million SH 178 (Artcraft Road) Interchange, which would improve the road from the New Mexico state line to Interstate 10. This project is designed to improve safety and reliability of travel time as well as modernize the road to accommodate oversized truck loads. The estimated let date is May 2023.
The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) notified vendors of a forthcoming procurement opportunity for engineering and locating services.

CTRMA anticipates releasing a request for qualifications (RFQ) in October for subsurface utility engineering and on-call mobility authority-owned utility locating.

The service period will be from spring 2022 to spring 2024. Total project cost is to be determined.

Professional services solicited by the RFQ include subsurface and above-ground utility engineering. In addition, the solicitation will seek utility engineering investigations to determine the location of CTRMA-owned utilities including irrigation lines, power and communication conduit and duct bank runs. It also will require on-call locating and marking of CTRMA-owned utilities within the project area.

The authority invites all qualified entities to provide a statement of qualifications (SOQ) in accordance with the RFQ once it is issued.

CTRMA will review SOQs and will either make a final selection or invite a shortlist of the best-qualified respondents to an interview after which a selection will be made.
Jon Conant
Center for Alternative Financing and Procurement (CAP)
at the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC)
Public career highlights and education: I have been with CAP for two years and accrued over 25 years of experience in business and real estate before joining the program. Most recently at TFC, I was responsible for managing a portfolio of leases across the state, working with state agencies on space allocation, and managing the end-to-end lease transaction for client agencies. I earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Babson College in Massachusetts.

What I like best about my public service is: the opportunity to bring entrepreneurial ideas to existing problems to bring forth better solutions and value to the state. I’m relatively new to public service, and I’m enjoying learning from career public sector peers on how our state government works.

The best advice I’ve received is: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand,” from Randy Pausch and Jeffery Zaslow’s book “The Last Lecture.”

My favorite ways to de-stress are: exercise. There is nothing like a hard run, gym workout, or tennis match to clear the body and mind of physical and mental toxins.

People might be surprised to know that I: play drums. In fact, if my workout isn’t enough to de-stress, playing some classic rock on the drum kit finishes the job.

One thing I wish more people knew about CAP is: it has a “bench” of advisers available to weigh in on public facilities projects. Our advisers services have been vetted and procured by TFC, and they stand ready to help local governmental entities develop early project concepts and provide guidance on alternative delivery options for a wide range of projects.
Tarleton State University will hold a pre-proposal conference at 10 a.m. CDT October 25 for a university hotel and convocation center development opportunity at the Stephenville campus.

The university seeks to contract for the development and operation of a 150-keyed room state-of-the-industry, nationally branded chain, quasi full-service hotel with meeting space to accommodate NCAA Division 1 team travel requirements.

In building the convocation center, the developer will be expected to design a multi-functional venue with a basketball floor, seating capacity of 7,000, practice gyms, concession space, coaching offices, and locker rooms meeting Division 1 requirements.

A feasibility analysis earlier this year found a measurable unmet market demand for a new, modern hotel and conference center in Stephenville. It recommended 16,000 square feet of conference/meeting space, including a 10,000-square-foot subdividable ballroom and 6,000 square feet of breakout meeting space.

Consultants based their study findings on an assumed construction timeline of 17 months with completion and opening in January 2023.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $49.62 million to Texas in American Rescue Plan funding for major construction and renovation of 66 health centers throughout the state.

HHS announced on September 28 that it will distribute $954.25 million to 1,292 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program-funded health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.

Health centers will use this funding for COVID-19-related capital needs, constructing new facilities, renovating and expanding existing facilities to enhance response to pandemics, and purchasing new state-of-the-art equipment, including telehealth technology, mobile medical vans, and freezers to store vaccines.

The funds will be awarded to health centers that serve medically underserved and other vulnerable populations and communities, which are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other health conditions.

Some of the Texas organizations receiving funds are:
  • Legacy Community Health Services in Houston - $1.9 million. 
  • Travis County Healthcare District in Austin - $1.78 million. 
  • El Centro del Barrio in San Antonio - $1.56 million. 
  • Lone Star Circle of Care in Georgetown - $1.53 million. 
  • Barrio Comprehensive Family Health Care Center in San Antonio - $1.28 million. 
  • Heart of Texas Community Health Center in Waco - $1.15 million. 
  • Brazos Valley Community Action Agency in College Station - $1.02 million. 

Texas is set to receive the third highest distribution behind California’s $139.14 million and New York’s $54.01 million.
Denton County is exploring the feasibility of a future county-owned multipurpose exposition center.

The proposed venue would host events such as sport tournaments, e-sports, home and garden shows, general exhibits, concerts, livestock exhibitions, rodeos, and other educational, cultural, and historic events.

Denton County has been in the top 10 counties nationwide since 2012 for growth, with population estimates expected to be at 1 million during the 2020 census. Anticipated growth affects all sectors and includes urban, commercial, industrial, infrastructure expansion including highways, railways, power, and pipelines. County leaders desire to explore the possibility of a Denton County Exposition Center and the potential benefits it would bring to the community, county, and the region.

In 2020, the county partnered with the North Texas State Fair Association on an economic study that estimated a $99.5 million construction cost for an exposition center with four buildings comprising 300,000 square feet. One potential site would be west of Interstate 35 and between Milam and Ganzer roads.
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) is accepting unsolicited proposals for onboard ticket validators on its fixed route and rail vehicles.

Project scope is to expand Capital Metro’s mobile ticketing system to the remainder of its fleet as part of its larger fare collection initiative.

The current system, which has been operating on the authority’s Rapid vehicles since 2014, was customized in response to Capital Metro’s specifications, and the software that operates the mobile application, back-end, and onboard equipment is proprietary.

It utilizes customized scripts that interface with validators and onboard routers to query vehicle assignments and route and block information. These data are required for validating active tickets to counteract fare evasion and to track financials for backend reporting.

Capital Metro intends to award a sole source contract, but it will consider responses submitted by 3 p.m. CDT October 21.
The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) is commissioning a study to research the economic impact of the airport on the local and regional economy.

By analyzing the time from October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019, the airport officials seek a greater understanding of employment and operations on site, retail activity at the site, current land uses, recent and planned construction and capital improvements, and other relevant data.

The study will assess economic and fiscal impacts of:
  • Commercial passenger flights. 
  • Cargo activity. 
  • Cargo construction. 
  • Infrastructure and capital investment. 
  • Construction expenditures. 
  • Goods and services expenditures. 
  • Concession revenue activities. 

In addition, consultants will conduct a case study analysis of six to 10 firms participating in construction, goods and services, and concessions as disadvantaged, small, minority, and/or women-owned business enterprises.

The contractor also will review proposed land use plans to determine the estimated economic benefits from development of additional land parcels once fully operational.
The city of Athens is obtaining preliminary construction estimates on two alternatives for a proposed 17,000-square-foot police station that will go before voters in a $5.5 million bond election November 2.

Athens Police Department has been in its current facility, which was designed as a multipurpose building, since 1978.

Some of the highlights of the proposed plan include computer-controlled evidence lockers, negative pressure evidence rooms for drugs and weapons, and a dispatch area designed for 21st-century digital equipment. In addition, there will be condensed shelving for records, dedicated interview rooms, and a training area that can convert into an emergency operations center.

The proposed plans will work at either of the locations being considered by the City Council: adjacent to the current police station or a 5-acre tract on Highway 175 next to the Department of Public Safety building.

If the bond is successful, the city would work with architects to prepare construction documents and develop an estimated project cost.
The Ark-Tex Council of Governments (ATCOG) reissued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the design of commercial office space in Paris, Texas.

Design building improvements will include structural, electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering as well as architectural analysis.

The architectural firm also will prepare a construction bid package and conduct a pre-construction conference.

From the statements of qualifications (SOQs), the council will select an architect to design building plans for a renovation to an office building that will encompass approximately 2,000 square feet at 1610 US-271 Business in Paris.

RFQ submissions are due by 5 p.m. October 13. An ATCOG committee is scheduled to review all SOQs and make a selection on October 22.
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) will host several webinars and events to focus attention on Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October. 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a national event that started in 2003. It is sponsored by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” 

DIR will be hosting weekly webinars and partnering with other agencies on cybersecurity awareness events including:  
  • October 5: Let’s Crack Passwords hosted by Women In Cybersecurity (WiCys).  
  • October 6: Cyber Agility: Cyber Habits and Muscle Memory hosted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  
  • October 12: Cloud Security Architecture hosted by WiCys.  
  • October 13: Imposter Syndrome, Perspectives from Black Women in Tech hosted by WiCys.  
  • October 19: Creating a security program and end-user training presentation by the Texas Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (ISAO).  
  • October 20: The Cyber Maze: Hack the Hacker hosted by HHSC.  
  • October 26: Cyber Crawl: The Changing Cyber Landscape hosted by HHSC. 
  • October 27: The First Rule of Security Awareness … Talk About Security Awareness! hosted by DIR.  
  • October 29: Cyber Fire Fight: Internet of Things (IoTs) hosted by HHSC.  

For information about Cybersecurity Awareness Month and events, visit: https://dir.texas.gov/information-security/cybersecurity-awareness-month
Highland Village councilmembers on September 28 adopted a resolution of a notice of intent to sell $15.23 million in certificates of obligation (COs) for streets and parks projects.

During the budget process, the Capital Improvement Program identified a total of $15.75 million in streets and parks improvements, including the issuance cost. The COs would fund $8.85 million for street and drainage capital projects and $6.4 million for park improvements.

Anticipated street reconstruction projects in this issuance are:
  • Highland Shores Boulevard (Briarhill to Twin Coves-engineering only with anticipation of inclusion in a future Denton County bond program to fund construction). 
  • Highland Village Road (Brazos to KCS RR - engineering only with anticipation of inclusion in a future Denton County bond program to fund construction). 
  • Various projects on 28 streets meeting criteria. 

Proposed overlay projects include work on Sellmeyer Lane and Highland Shores Boulevard, and drainage improvements would dredge the Wal-Mart and Quail Cove ponds and stabilize the Silverthorne Park creek bank.

Park improvements would be made to the Highland Village Tennis Center, Pilot Knoll Campground, Unity Park, Lions Club Park, Village Park, and Brazos Park.
The Railroad Commission of Texas unanimously elected Commissioner Wayne Christian as chairman for a second time. He succeeds former Chairwoman Christi Craddick.

Since taking office, Christian has served on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) as the official representative of Texas.

In 1996, Christian was elected to the House of Representatives. During his terms, he served as vice-chair of regulated industries and as a multi-term member of the Energy Resource Committee.
The Harlingen City Commission voted to name Gabriel Gonzalez as interim city manager on September 28. He took over from former City Manager Dan Serna.

Gonzalez most recently served as the city’s assistant city manager for internal services overseeing numerous departments. Prior to that, he was city manager and assistant city manager of the city of San Benito.
The city of Mesquite announced two key leadership positions this week with the promotion of Chris Sanchez to assistant city manager and appointment of David Gill as its new police chief.
Sanchez had been serving as assistant to the city manager and legislative officer. Prior to his roles in Mesquite, he was the innovation program manager for the city of Irving and worked in the city manager’s Office for the city of Lewisville.
Effective October 18, Gill will take over from Interim Police Chief David Faaborg who filled the position after Charles Cato resigned in March. Gill is currently assistant police chief at Mesquite Police Department. Before that, he led the department’s Tactical Division and served as a field training officer.
San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh appointed Mark Carmona as the city’s first chief housing officer.

For the past three years, Carmona served as a consultant to the H.E. Butt Foundation and led a cohort of churches to develop a coordinated response to mental health needs in San Antonio.
The city of Pampa and Gray County announced the hiring of Troy Schwiegerath as the new emergency management coordinator. 

Schwiegerath most recently served as a lieutenant for the city of Denver Fire Department where he retired in May after 27 years of service. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from September 17-30:

Deputy Adjutant General for Army 
Brig. Gen. Monie Ulis - Austin

Texas Medical Board 
Ebony Todd - Fort Hood
Ada Booth - Corpus Christi
Michael Cokinos - Houston (reappointed)
Kandace Farmer - Highland Village (reappointed)
LuAnn Morgan - Midland (reappointed)
Jayaram Naidu - Odessa (reappointed)
Sherif Zaafran - Houston (reappointed)

Texas Energy Reliability Council 
Brad Jones - Liberty Hill
Nate Murphy - San Antonio
George Presses - San Antonio
Edward Stones - Houston
Jon Taylor - Austin
Melissa Trevino - Houston
Work Group on Blockchain Matters 
Carla Reyes - Allen
William Henning - Fort Worth
Jennifer Buaas - Dripping Springs
Dan Teczar - Austin
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Director of Human Resources (Director II)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Public Safety Office Support Specialist (Systems Support Specialist II)

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Deputy Associate Commissioner for Goods Procurements

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Director for HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Budget Analyst IV

  • Texas Water Development Board – Engineer/Engineer Reviewer

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Incident District Hazmat Coordinator (Houston)

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Transport Engineering Specialist I (Corpus Christi) 

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Statewide Fiscal Oversight Auditor III-V
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