Volume 11, Issue 28 - Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Throughout America, there is a robust effort underway to find the best way(s) to ensure the safety of students, teachers, and administrators. Yet, there is no agreement on how to accomplish that goal. Ensuring school safety has become a very difficult and complex pursuit.

The need is urgent, but currently there's no consensus and no endorsed guidelines. That's the bad news. The good news is that powerful and determined forces are working on this problem, and school security recommendations should be forthcoming soon.

Education officials, parents, and elected officials all have the same questions:
* What is the best way to make schools safe and protect students, teachers, and administrators?
* What should school officials do with the limited funding they have been given to spend on safety enhancements?
* Can safety options be prioritized?
* Is technology the answer? If so, why is so much funding being spent on hiring more security guards?

There are no quick and easy answers, but a group of universities, organizations, associations, and industry groups have joined in the effort to find solutions. The list of those working on the problem is impressive.

Johns Hopkins University has taken up the challenge by creating a Center for Safe and Healthy Schools. The university has made resources and funding available to help educators, school systems, and communities make good decisions about school safety initiatives.

Stanford University also has a program addressing school safety. It is called Reimagining School Safety, and students and faculty there are involved in researching ways to enhance campus security.

North Carolina - The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has a plan to improve travel with $2.2 billion in toll lanes. The plan focuses on major roadways in the southern and eastern sides of the Charlotte region, and will allow for faster travel between Monroe, Rock Hill, Chester, and into Charlotte. All three parts of the plan could be in operation as soon as the early 2030s.

The first project adds one toll lane in each direction to Interstate 485 between U.S. 74 and I-77. The 17-mile stretch is set to be under construction later this summer, and also includes a new interchange at Weddington Road. Completion is estimated for late 2022 at a total cost of $346 million.

The next project focuses on U.S. 74. This $700 million job will begin in eight or nine years, and involves converting the center bus lanes along Independence Boulevard into toll lanes. Completion is estimated around 2030.

The final project begins in the late 2020s and will cost $1.1 billion. The work involves adding toll lanes along an 11-mile stretch on the south side of uptown to the South Carolina border.
Rendering of Blaisdell Center
Hawaii - The City and County of Honolulu is issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the $772 million redevelopment of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center. The redesign aims to add new facilities as well as increased seating capacity for existing buildings. Companies bidding on the project must possess a general contractor's license in Hawaii. Oct. 31 is the RFQ deadline.

The goal of the project is to expand the Blaisdell Center to be able to accommodate more visitors. Designs showcase renovations to the outdoor areas with pools, waterfalls, and fountains.

The reimagined center will include a new performance hall, sports pavilion, and additional seating capacity. To accommodate more visitors, about 900 parking spaces will be added.

Once RFQs are submitted, the city plans to issue a request for proposals (RFPs) by Dec. 31. The deadline for RFPs will be June 1, 2020. Construction is estimated to begin in 2020 and last for two to three years.
Florida - Miami-Dade commissioners are planning to issue a request for proposals (RFP) this fall for building a "baylink" transit system.

Bidders will have six months to respond to the RFP that seeks development of a monorail system from Miami, across the MacArthur Causeway, to end in South Beach. 

A $10 million study is being performed to determine the best transit system, the outcome of which will influence the county's decision on a proposal.

The project includes a monorail, Metromover, and bus station, for an estimated total cost of $400 million. Local and state governments would fund $240 million, while the county would pay the system's operator an undisclosed annual amount. To expedite the process, no federal grants will be sought.
Ohio Transportation Research Center
Ohio - Ohio's Transportation Research Center (TRC) opened its autonomous vehicle testing ground, a 540-acre investment designed to help change and advance vehicle technology.

The $45 million SMART Center, funded by Ohio State University, the state of Ohio, and JobsOhio, is substantially larger than other proving grounds and is the largest of its kind in North America. It includes a 1.2 mile, six-lane road complete with traffic signals and an intersection.

The objective of the facility is to provide a safe environment that allows automakers, suppliers, and technology companies to test their vehicles and equipment, without risk to people or property.  More plans for the TRC include building a highway track with on and off ramps, and an indoor, year-round testing area to simulate winter conditions.
Rendering of Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Indiana - The Indianapolis City-County Council unanimously approved a proposal allowing the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) to issue up to $320 million in bonds for the Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovation and expansion project.

The project will include an outdoor public plaza, technology upgrades, spectator view enhancements, and other capital improvements.

Councilmembers also approved the transfer of $29 million from the CIB's reserve fund to its operating fund to support the renovations. The CIB is a quasi-governmental agency that represents the city.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission is set to convene July 17 to take action on a formal project agreement between the city and the CIB to authorize the city's $25 million contribution to the project, specifically for public infrastructure improvements. This requirement is part of a 25-year deal reached in April between the CIB and the Indiana Pacers basketball team.
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is allocating $300 million to rail transit projects in Arizona, California, and Washington. The federal funding comes from the FTA's Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the Valley Metro South Central Light Rail is receiving $100 million. The money will go toward a 5.5-mile extension from downtown Phoenix to the South Mountain Village Core. The project also includes nine stations.

In Los Angeles, the Westside Subway Section 3 Project is receiving $100 million. The funds will be used for a 2.6-mile extension from the future Century City station to the Westwood/Veterans Hospital area. The project also includes two stations.

In Seattle, Washington, the Federal Way Light Rail Project is receiving $100 million for a 7.8-mile extension. The rail will extend through SeaTac, Des Moines, Kent, and Federal Way. The project also includes three stations.
A crowd gathers for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the $300 million Wyoming Capitol Square Project on July 10. 
Wyoming - State leaders celebrated the completion of a $300 million renovation of the 132-year-old Wyoming Capitol and another state building on July 10 in Cheyenne with a ribbon cutting ceremony, bands, historical festivities, and fireworks.

Legislators met for four sessions in a different building during the three and a half years it took to complete the Capitol Square Project that added 28,000 square feet to an underground corridor connecting the Capitol and Herschler Building, new meeting rooms, and more space for a possible auditorium and visitor center. The Capitol's two-story Territorial House Chamber/Historic Supreme Court Chamber also was restored.

The transformation preserved the Capitol's exterior look; however, interior aesthetics received a makeover with faded halls, rooms, and chambers painted to more closely match their original luster.

Other project efforts included replacing the central utility plant and adding more than 56,000 square feet to the Herschler Building by removing an atrium.
Rendering of Tampa International Airport
Florida - Tampa International Airport is doubling its number of pickup and drop-off lanes. The $187 million project will take place over the next five years and will bring the total number of curbside lanes from 16 to 32. The expansion is part of the airport's $2 billion master plan.

The goal is to create dedicated lanes for different passengers based on their cargo: one set of lanes for those who have only carry-on bags, and one set for those who have checked baggage.

The blue side of the terminal will get eight new lanes, four for arrivals and four for departures, in 2022. New lanes on the red side will be delayed to 2024. The airport must first demolish existing administrative offices, as well as build a new energy-efficient utilities plant and loading dock.
Rendering of 1st Street in Freshwater Plaza
Wisconsin - The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop an 88,758-square-foot tract in Freshwater Plaza, the gateway to the Harbor District.

City and RACM officials seek proposals that:
  • Provide a concentration of activity that contributes to the vitality of Freshwater Plaza and the Harbor District;
  • Respond to site context and existing neighboring buildings;
  • Utilize high-quality design and materials;
  • Expand tax base and maximize the return to the city;
  • Create or retain jobs with family-supporting wages and benefits; and,
  • Incorporate sustainable design elements into the building and onsite stormwater management. 
A major corporation is set to relocate its new headquarters in the district, which contains several industrial and marine businesses and has convenient access to downtown, Bayview, the Harbor and Highway. More than $500 million in developments were proposed for the district in 2018. Proposals are due by Sept. 30.
Port of Ketchikan
Alaska - Councilmembers in Ketchikan on July 10 unanimously approved beginning a request for proposals (RFP) process to solicit bids from cruise businesses interested in constructing and funding port upgrades.

They also agreed to review a separate development proposal from a company that owns one of the berths at the city's port.

Consultants advised councilmembers that as cruise ships grow larger, their size will more frequently exceed the current port's limited ability to dock them and service additional passengers.

The project is estimated to cost $150 million. The council plan is to begin the RFP and consider the development proposal. Councilmembers will then review a draft RFP and solicit public input.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives
A CT-rail train travels northbound on the Hartford Line.
Connecticut - The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) plans to build four new train stations along the Hartford Line. Each station is estimated to cost between $50 million and $100 million. The CDOT is waiting for the state to fund construction.

The four towns slotted for new stations are Enfield, Newington, West Hartford, and North Haven. The stations are slated for construction over the next five years and will be funded from state legislature, local governments, and partnerships with private developers.

West Hartford's station is expected to open in 2021. Enfield's station, slated to open in 2023, will be built in the Thompsonville neighborhood near apartment housing. The station in Newington is anticipated to open in 2023. It's unclear when North Haven's station will begin operations.
Rendering of High Point School
Michigan - A $53.3 million bond referendum is set to go before Washtenaw ISD voters on Aug. 6 to determine the need to renovate and reconstruct sections of High Point School. Administrators say the school that serves students with significant medical, emotional, physical, and cognitive disabilities was not designed for that purpose.

If passed, the bond funds would support the renovation of the school's gym and pool, demolition of unnecessary areas of the building, and construct new amenities.

New campus features would include classrooms, music and art rooms, occupational and physical therapy space, outdoor playscapes tailored to ages and abilities, and equipment storage. Furniture, equipment, technology, and energy-efficient infrastructure also would be funded.

Washtenaw ISD operates the public school for Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Lincoln, Manchester, Milan, Saline, Whitmore Lake, and Ypsilanti public school districts.
Sir Francis Drake Boulevard
California - The Transportation Authority of Marin approved $20.2 million for several major road projects in the county. Most of the allocated funds will be used for construction, while the remainder will be used for initial studies. Projects include congestion improvements on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, and a proposal to build a direct connection from Highway 101 to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Marin County is receiving $11.9 million to fund upgrades to more than two miles of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The section of roadway between Highway 101 and the town of Ross is getting improvements to reduce congestion, such as asphalt and sidewalk repair, updated traffic signal timing, improved disability access, and more. Construction is set to begin in spring 2020 and end in 2021.

The board approved $6 million to study the proposed direct connector from northbound Highway 101 to eastbound Interstate 580. This connector is estimated to cost between $135 million and $265 million, with construction beginning in 2025.
Another $1 million is going to studies for the reconfiguration of Novato Boulevard between Grant and Diablo avenues. The proposed project includes reconfiguring lane structures, with construction estimated to occur from 2022 to 2023.

The Third Street rehabilitation project is getting $1 million for studies as well. This project involves curb bulb-outs, street trees, path widening, and signal upgrades that will accommodate increased traffic flow. Construction is set for 2022.
Washington, D.C. - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is considering a five-year highway bill that would help set into motion the reauthorization of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

FAST is a five-year spending bill that authorizes funding for highway, bridge, and mass transportation improvements. The current act is set to expire in October 2020.

Policymakers are prioritizing overall safety, improved freight connectivity, autonomous vehicle guidelines, and transit system access. Some lawmakers emphasize streamlining the environmental permitting process and minimizing project delivery regulations.

Others are calling for more funding for rural corridors and encouraging states to develop innovative technology. For others, the highway bill must enhance the ability of infrastructure projects to withstand severe storms and floods, helping to avoid future costs of rebuilding.
Rendering of Downtown Natchez Master Plan
Mississippi - The Natchez Board of Aldermen approved a revised request for proposals (RFP) for renovations to the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Depot. City officials plan to lease the depot as a hub for downtown entertainment according to the Downtown Natchez Master Plan, which also outlines other major improvements to the city.

The revised RFP is posted on the city's website. The RFP now includes a capital improvement credit incentive for up to $300,000 worth of changes, and a rent price of $3,000 per month.

The deadline to submit proposals is Nov. 1, and the selection process ends Dec. 15. Submissions should focus on renovating the depot to include public restrooms, a small visitors center with gift shop and bike rentals, and a small restaurant with outdoor dining.

The outdoor dining area will sit between the depot and the bluff's edge, and will offer views of the river. Two design options have been laid out in the master plan: a raised deck with traditional architecture, and a grade-level paved patio.
All improvements to the building must protect its architectural integrity.

Ohio - The city of Cincinnati promoted Nicollette Staton to the position of chief performance officer and director of the Office of Performance and Data Analytics. She had served in an interim capacity since February when Leigh Tami accepted a position at the New York City Parks and Recreation Department. Staton began her career with the city in March 2017 as a performance and data analyst. In October 2017, she became the city's analytics and innovation manager. Before joining Cincinnati, Staton held a fellowship in strategy and information with the city of Hamilton, Ohio.

Illinois - The city of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs announced Kwame Amoaku as director of the Chicago Film Office on July 15. He succeeds Rich Moskal who retired in November 2018. Amoaku is a 25-year veteran of the film industry with experience as an executive producer, director, assistant director, production manager, location manager, actor, and writer.

Florida - The University of South Florida has selected Steven Currall as its seventh president. He takes over for former President Judy Genshaft who retired after 19 years. Currall previously served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at a private university in Dallas and as the chancellor's senior advisor for strategic projects and initiatives and professor of management at the University of California, Davis. He also was a professor at a business school in London, vice dean of enterprise at the University College London, and associate professor at a private university in Houston.

Wisconsin - Effective Aug. 5, Brenda Gonzalez will be the new director of community relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UMW). She succeeds Leslie Orrantia who accepted a position as deputy mayor for the city of Madison, Wisconsin. Gonzalez is currently the diversity manager for a hospice care facility. She previously served as the community marketing and health equity manager for a group health cooperative and at UMW as its health equity career development program manager.

Maryland - Baltimore Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young appointed Steve Sharkey as the city's transportation director and promoted Chichi Nyagah-Nash to director of the Department of General Services. Sharkey previously served as the general services director. He takes over for interim director Frank Murphy who filled in after Michelle Pourciau resigned in April. Sharkey also served as director of special projects for the Baltimore Police Department and as division chief of special services and property management. Prior to those positions, he was a senior analyst and deputy director at CitiStat. Nygah-Nash was deputy director for Baltimore's Department of General Services. She previously served as assistant deputy director in the city's Department of Human Resources and director of special projects in the Department of Housing and Community Development. Before joining the city, Nygah-Nash was a program administrator for security and investigations at a foodservice distributor.
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