Volume 7, Issue 34 - December 2, 2015
Global warming believer or not - classrooms are hotter than ever
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
If you heard students and teachers complaining about the heat earlier this year ... they've had good reason. Although winter has arrived in most of the country, providing a respite from the heat, the nation endured the hottest year on record. In October alone, the hottest temperatures in 136 years were recorded. Students and teachers in hot, non-air conditioned classrooms have suffered.

Temperature increases and the lack of air conditioning in public schools are creating significant and very costly problems. 



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New Oregon energy storage law may provide model
Energy storage mandate to serve as pilot for other states
In June, the Oregon state legislature passed a bill requiring the state's two largest electricity providers to have a minimum of 5 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy storage in service by Jan. 1, 2020. 

The law is significant, industry leaders say, because it will provide guidance for how regulators should value various energy storage technologies. It also allows for any type of storage technology without favoring one over the others. That means that anything from batteries to flywheels to thermal storage options are included. The shrinking cost of batteries, though, does give that technology a boost. In addition to the flexibility in terms of storage technologies, the law allows the electricity providers to pitch a single storage system or multiple systems. That could be useful because experts have suggested that true cost savings will likely come from a combination of methods rather than just one.

Officials with the Oregon Public Utility Commission (OPUC) will spend 2016 determining procedures for the electric companies. The OPUC needs to have those procedures in place by January 2017. The electric companies, in turn, will need to present their proposals to the commission by January 2018.

The question of value is one that dogs the industry, because it has not yet been able to identify what exactly that means due to the undefined nature of such a new technology. Among the issues is the fact that there is still uncertainty regarding the reliability of certain energy storage technologies. Can stored energy provide more than just patches to an electric grid? One energy storage company official has said that it's necessary to know "the service the storage provides to the system." The value lies in being able to rely on that service for more than short bursts, she said. 
"Is it a 15-minute duration or a four-hour duration? And what are the charging-discharging requirements?"

The significance of that can be explained a bit by the difference between a megawatt (MW, the measurement of energy produced) and a megawatt hour (the measure of energy discharged over a period of one hour). 

"A 5 MW storage battery capable of storing 50 MWh could supply 5 MW to the grid for up to 10 hours (5 MW X 10 hours = 50 MWh)," one industry consultant explained. "Whether 5 MW can be sustained for a second, a minute, an hour or a day makes a very large difference."


Colorado conservation board presents state water plan
$20 billion plan calls for conserving 130 billion gallons a year
In 2013, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called for the creation of the state's first-ever water plan. Last month, Colorado Water Conservation Board officials delivered to the governor a 480-page document that lays out the next 35 years of water development in the state.

Colorado's population is about 5.3 million today. It's expected to double by 2050, when the state also is projected to face annual shortfalls of more than 160 billion gallons. The water plan contains goals of 130 billion gallons of water saved through conservation methods and another 130 billion gallons of storage space created in reservoirs and aquifers. 

How the conservation targets will be met is generally being left to local governments and to private industry. The great majority of the costs, too, will be placed upon water utilities in Colorado's Front Range, the corridor along the eastern face of the Rocky Mountains that contains the state's most-populous cities, including Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs. The state is anticipating contributing from $3 billion to $6 billion over the duration of the water plan. 

Among the other items included in the plan is a directive to link a county's land use planning with its water supply planning. The goal is to have 75 percent of the state's population to live in communities where residential development is tied to water availability, which has a target date of 2025.

Though the water plan does call for developing new sources of water, conservation is its focus. Those new sources would include designing a framework that will allow for the diversion of water from the western part of the state to the more-populous eastern cities, as well as building new reservoirs and negotiating a strategy for the purchase by municipal utilities of the water rights of farmers.

"We need to do our part as municipal water providers to achieve reasonable levels of conservation," said Patrick Wells (pictured), managing engineer for water resources at Colorado Springs Utilities. "When our house is in order, that's when we should be having the discussion as water providers and the state about the appropriate balance between agricultural transfers and Colorado River development."
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Malloy puts forth $100 billion transportation plan
Gov. Dannel Malloy (pictured) would like Connecticut residents to get serious about their state's transportation future. Last month, Malloy released a 30-year, $100 billion transportation plan that would overhaul the state's infrastructure. Included among the governor's proposals was a plan to improve the commuter rail line between New Haven and New York City, a route that carries more than 39 million passengers annually. The plan calls for dedicating two tracks to express service and adding more frequent local service to the line's other two tracks. The hope would be to increase both ridership and efficiency for the passenger rail service while also decreasing the number of cars on the state's highways. That part of the plan is expected to cost $3.9 billion. "The New Haven line has the potential to carry thousands of additional commuters, and do so at faster and more frequent rates," said Malloy. "That means we will be far more attractive to businesses - our economy will benefit greatly from these investments." Among the other projects included in the ambitious plan was an estimated $3.4 billion project to replace the I-84 viaduct in Hartford. That section of elevated highway was built in the 1960s to handle 55,000 cars daily but now sees traffic of more than 170,000 vehicles each day.
Loveland's Railroad Avenue to get federal funds
Heavy rains in 2013 caused severe flooding in Loveland, Colo., and destroyed portions of the city's Railroad Avenue. Last month, the Federal Highway Administration approved a $3.3 million project to rebuild the road and to add an additional bridge just south of the road's BNSF Railway crossing. The project will raise part of Railroad Avenue near an existing bridge in order to manage the flow of floodwater into land that does not have any structures, thereby reducing overall damage. Chris Carlson, Loveland's city engineer, said that the federal grant also will pay for the construction of a 100-foot bridge south of the BNSF Railway crossing, which will line up with the existing bridge the railroad tracks sit on. An original plan had called for the replacement of the current bridge, but planners decided against that. "What we did was, we said there is this railroad bridge that we are not going to mess with," Carlson said. "All we are going to do is match the capacity of that bridge. So what water is able to flow through the railroad bridge can flow through the new bridge." After the 2013 flooding, the road underwent temporary repairs and only reopened in December 2014. Construction on the permanent repairs is scheduled to begin before the end of the summer in 2016.
West Fargo to spend $98 million on school facilities
In November, voters in West Fargo, N.D., approved a $98.1 million school bond referendum that will see the city add two new elementary schools, an indoor ice rink and a community aquatic center. The referendum passed with 80 percent of the vote, which offered relief to Superintendent David Flowers (pictured). "I'm just overwhelmed by how positive these results are," Flowers said. "As you know, it's a heavy lift in North Dakota. It has to be 60 percent [to pass]." In addition to upgrades for existing schools, the bond program will pay for two new elementary schools as well as for the recreational facilities, an $18.5 million community aquatic center and a $16.5 million two-sheet ice facility. The bonds won't come with raised taxes for the district's voters. Population growth and increases in home values should be able to pay for the costs associated with the construction, school officials have said. The district expects to grow by 60 percent in the next 10 years.
Del Mar finalizes plans for new civic center, city hall
City officials in Del Mar, Calif., have agreed to move forward on a $17.8 million plan to replace their outdated city hall with a new, larger civic center complex. The project will feature a 3,200-square-foot town hall on the property of the current city hall, as well as a separate 9,250-square-foot administrative building for additional city offices and a 15,000-square-foot plaza that would provide open space for community activities. The complex will also include an underground, two-level parking garage with about 160 spots. City council members expect to pay for the construction through debt, though the city could fund a portion of the price tag through the general budget, reducing the amount needed to be borrowed. "It's a lot of money for our little city," said Councilman Dwight Worden. "But the couple of improvements are well worth it, and I think it's what a core part of the community wants out of this project." The city council is expected to finalize the project's environmental impact report in January 2016, clearing the way for demolition of the current facilities. Construction would likely begin in the middle of 2016 and could be completed by mid-2017.
LAX to get $5 billion in transportation upgrades
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the governing body that oversees and operates the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), has launched a $5 billion improvement plan that will increase transportation options for travelers. The project, called the Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), is highlighted by a 2.25-mile, elevated automated people mover that will bring travelers from a new rental car facility to the airport's central terminal area. The project will also include a station that connects the people mover to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) regional transit system, including its light-rail line. The people mover system will have six stations and include pedestrian bridges to airport terminals and parking garages. LAWA has announced that it will bid the project using the design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) procurement method. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017 and be completed by 2023. The agency will host a forum to provide program information and receive industry feedback on the delivery and procurement framework Feb. 4, 2016.
University of Michigan plans new medical center
The University of Michigan Health System has announced plans to build a medical care center in Brighton, about 20 miles north of the school's Ann Arbor campus. The school's Board of Regents last month approved the $175 million project, which will build a 320,000-square-foot primary and specialty care center. The new facility will join three other university health centers in the area. University officials say the new health center will offer about 40 medical services - including ophthalmology, radiology, diagnostic imaging and cancer care services - and include exam and operating rooms, as well as a pharmacy. Design plans still need to be completed and approved, after which a construction schedule can be set. The center is expected to employ about 375 people.
New Holmen library to be completed by fall 2017
Readers in Holmen, Wisc., will be able to enjoy a new library by the time the 2017-2018 school year begins. The Holmen Village Board last month approved the $4.6 million project after considering it for the past year. The new library will be more than four times the size of the current one and include a separate community room and study area. "During our summer reading program, we try to host large events here, but people come in and sometimes walk right back out, because they can't see the performer, can't find a place to sit or even find a place to park," said Chris McArdle Rojo (pictured), La Crosse County's library director. The new library will be constructed on land across from the village's new police station, which was built earlier in 2015. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2016 and be completed by the fall of 2017.
SUNY Poly to seek new proposals for Albany dorm
The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is reopening the bidding process for a new student housing project in Albany. The project had been released to bid earlier in 2015, but the school received just one response. University officials have decided to seek new proposals for the 500-bed dorm, which will be the first residence hall for the campus. The school's undergraduate enrollment is projected to rise from 200 for the fall 2015 semester to more than 500 in the next five years. This new effort comes on the heels of the recent reissuing of a request for proposals (RFP) for another SUNY Poly project, a clean tech center in Rensselaer, N.Y. The university has instituted new bidding policies, including a requirement that companies bidding on projects be qualified by both the state Office of General Services and the U.S. General Services Administration.
Sacramento State announces latest building project
California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State) will construct a new science building on the north side of its campus beginning in the spring of 2017. The project, called Science II for the moment, will build a facility for the university's biology and chemistry departments. "The new building will provide much-needed lab space and classrooms in fields where we are critically short on space," said campus president Robert Nelsen (pictured). The new science building is just one of many university construction projects in progress. A new 62,000-square-foot addition to the student union building will begin construction in January 2017, as will an 1,800-space parking garage for the north end of campus. A second housing facility, a 416-bed residence hall, is already under construction and will be completed by the fall 2017 semester.
15 California counties awarded grants for jail projects
The California Board of State and Community Corrections has awarded 15 counties $500 million to build new jail facilities. The grants were included in the state's 2014-2015 budget and initiated by the Adult Local Criminal Justice Facility Financing bill, passed by the State Assembly in 2014. The idea behind the program is to upgrade jail facilities in an effort to create more modern, less densely populated jails, which could lead to reduced recidivism rates. The counties were grouped by size (small, medium and large) and range from Amador County (population 36,742) to San Francisco County (population 852,469). San Francisco's plans call for a 384-bed facility that will include space for counseling, computers, classrooms and vocational training in addition to mental health and medical units. It received an $80 million grant. Yuba County's $20 million grant will go toward the addition of medical and mental health treatment space. It will fund the construction of a two-story building containing a medical and mental health department that also will provide classrooms, program space, mental health staff offices, a laundry area and interview rooms.

News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

UC regents approve Merced campus expansion plan
After several years of planning, the project to double the size of the University of California's Merced campus through a public-private partnership (P3) has received its go-ahead. The University of California (UC) Board of Regents last month gave its approval to the plan, called the 2020 Project. School officials will now move to the request for proposals (RFP) phase and invite the three development teams selected from a pre-qualification process to submit proposals for the development of the campus. The plan calls for UC Merced to add 919,000 square feet to campus facilities. The 2020 Project will choose a single development team to design, build, operate and maintain a mix of academic, residential, student life and recreational facilities through one long-term contract. The developer will also provide a portion of the financing to supplement state and UC funding. The 2020 Project is said to be the nation's first to use the "design-build-finance-operate-maintain" (DBFOM) model for an educational facility. UC Merced is the newest institution in the UC System. It opened in 2005 with fewer than 900 students. Its 2015-2016 enrollment is nearly 6,700 students, and the school projects that figure to reach more than 10,000 by 2022.
PennDOT interested in two unsolicited proposals
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) each year has two periods during which it accepts unsolicited proposals for public-private partnership (P3) projects, in April and October. The most recent window has yielded two projects the state's Public Private Transportation Partnership Board is interested in pursuing. The first authorizes Northampton County to initiate a P3 that will replace 28 bridges and repair six others. The second proposal invloves the formation of a P3 to support transit-oriented development at the Middletown train station. A private developer would design, build, finance, operate and maintain commercial facilities on land owned by PennDOT near the station while ensuring that the station either maintains the same level of parking or increases that capacity. "Public-private partnerships are one way that we can leverage private-sector ideas and resources to improve transportation in our state," PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. "Whether started by the department or suggested by the private sector, we have many options to deliver improved or new services." The next stage will see PennDOT request statements of qualifications from private companies interested in participating in the P3s, a process that will take place in the spring of 2016. The qualified applicants will then submit proposals for the project.
ADOT moving forward with interstate project
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has received three proposals to build the last section of South Mountain Freeway near Phoenix. The $1.9 billion project is the first public-private partnership (P3) pursued by ADOT. It will build a 22-mile stretch of highway between the Maricopa Freeway segment of Interstate 10 and the Papago Freeway section of the interstate. The project was first mentioned in ADOT's long-range planning in 1985 and also was included in the 2004 Regional Transportation Plan passed by Maricopa County voters. The parameters of the deal include incentives for both partners to earn discounts. If the state initiates construction sooner than expected, it will receive price reductions. Similarly, the private developer can earn price evaluation credits "by avoiding anticipated parcel acquisitions and relocations," according to the agreement. ADOT is also seeking proposals for other P3s, including an electronic screening system for trucks at the state's ports of entry and the installation of a network of freeway lighting that will include a system to monitor and control the lights.
USF moves ahead with large student housing P3
The State University System Board of Governors has approved a project at the University of South Florida (USF) to build a student housing development through a public-private partnership (P3). The project will provide housing for 2,165 students and include retail shops, private rooms, study rooms, a health and wellness center, a dining center and a pool. The P3 will entail a 51-year lease of university-owned land to the chosen development team. The private partners will finance, build, furnish and operate the development for the length of the lease, earning its investment back through rental fees. Those fees will not exceed rents charged for the most expensive rooms already on campus and are currently projected to range from $3,395 to $4,595 per semester. The property on which the housing development will be built contains nine university buildings, which will be torn down before construction commences. The project will be conducted in two phases and is expected to be completed in June 2018.
P3 to build Red River flood diversion project
The Red River divides Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn. It flooded in 2009, overwhelming levees there. Since then, local officials have been planning a diversion project that would include a dam and a ditch more than 30 miles long to redirect floodwater around the two cities. The project would cost more than $2 billion, $900 million of which was originally planned to come from federal resources. But the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority has decided to form a public-private partnership (P3) to help reduce the costs to the federal government and quicken the pace of the construction. The project will consist of two phases. For the first, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will construct a 12-mile-long dam to hold back water from the Red River and direct the flow into a diversion channel. The second part will require a private contractor to build that quarter-mile-wide, 30-mile-long diversion channel. More than 20 new bridges for highways and railroads will be required to traverse the diversion channel, and two new aqueducts also will be constructed to allow smaller rivers to flow across the channel. "It's a unique effort, but it's the best way to get the Fargo-Moorhead metro project in place to benefit the 225,000 citizens in the area and protect the regional economy," said Terry Williams (pictured), who manages the diversion project for the USACE.
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