Volume 12, Issue 12 - Wednesday, March 18, 2020
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

At a time when every country is worrying about unemployment, colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are aggressively planning and launching initiatives designed to prepare students for jobs that will be in high demand in the coming decades.

Education officials are upgrading, launching new construction, and redesigning curriculum to stay competitive with recruiting efforts. There will be no shortage of upcoming opportunities in this sector in the coming months. Educational leaders are seeking ways to improve housing, food services, campus conveniences, safety, and new courses.

New York
Community colleges in particular are in high demand when the economy is suffering or when unemployment is rising.

Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in New York is designing programs, classes, and curriculum that will be of high interest 10 years from now. The college hopes to implement micro-credential and apprenticeship programs that can be completed in only a few months. HVCC's new facility master plan is under development, and one of its major projects will be a three-story training hub which will cost approximately $70 million. Other schools are involved in similar initiatives.

Miami International Airport
Florida - Miami International Airport (MIA) will receive $5 billion in upgrades as part of Miami-Dade County's 15-year capital improvement plan focused on increasing airport capacity and efficiency. County lawmakers plan to authorize bond debt to fund the long list of projects for the airport.

More than 40 projects are planned for MIA through 2036, and officials say that these projects can be stopped or started as needed depending on the economy.

Projects are broken down according to five categories, including the North, South, and Central terminals, as well as cargo facilities and an array of additional upgrades.
The Central Terminal's Concourse G will be demolished, while the South Terminal will gain three jumbo jet gates. The North Terminal will undergo modernization of 23 gates, which will accommodate larger aircraft, as well as a renovation of the terminal's frontage, which will reduce the number of backups.

Two new on-site hotels also are being proposed.

A taxiway will be added to the western cargo facility, along with a fuel tender and fumigation facility. Other work includes roadway and bridge improvements, a new bus maintenance facility, and new concession areas at the Central Terminal.

The bond issue must be approved by July to proceed with funding.
South Carolina - The state's Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is increasing funds dedicated to infrastructure construction projects. A total of $3.2 billion is being directed to improve safety, as South Carolina has the country's highest rural fatality rate.

Projects will include implementing measures to prevent roadway departures on rural roads, with SCDOT planning to invest $50 million per year for such projects.

Among SCDOT's other priorities are highway repaving projects, bridge improvements, and interstate improvements.

To address bottlenecks, SCDOT launched an interstate widening program to assist with routes that are essential for freight movement.

The Carolina Crossroads project is another priority, which will improve the interchange where interstates 20, 26, and 126 meet in Columbia. Phases 1 and 2 of the project are design-build (DB) and scheduled to be let as requests for qualifications in April and July, respectively. Additionally, Interstate 85 will be widened to six lanes along the section between Spartanburg and the North Carolina border.
Interstate 270 Beltway
Maryland - The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) estimates that in order to add toll lanes to Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway, 70 miles of large water and sewer pipes would need to be relocated at a cost of up to $2 billion.

Some main lines are up to 8 feet in diameter, which the WSSC estimates would cost between $1.3 billion and $2 billion to relocate depending on the construction method used.

The state typically splits such costs with the utility; however, because it plans to use a public-private partnership (P3) for the toll lane project, it's unsure how costs will be divided.

Officials aim to reduce traffic congestion with the toll lanes, which will be added in pairs in both directions to both highways and the American Legion Bridge.

It's estimated that $280 million will be needed to move the 5.3-mile bicounty tunnel, which is a steel pipe 7 feet in diameter located adjacent to the Beltway.

The state has yet to complete an environmental review of the project. It is soliciting private sector companies to compete for the P3. Officials hope legislation will be introduced requiring private partners to pay for the costs of relocating the pipes.
Grimsley High School in Greensboro
North Carolina - The Guilford County Board of Education recommended a $1.59 billion school construction bond for a November 3 election. The recommendation will advance to the county's Board of Commissioners for final approval.

If passed by voters this fall, the bond referendum would fund the first phase of the Guilford County Schools (GCS) $2.1 billion facilities master plan. The initial phase calls for acquisition of land for seven sites, 38 rebuilds, replacements, and full renovations of existing campuses, construction of three new schools, and repairs for two priority projects.

In November 2019, GCS released a $2 billion facilities master plan that called for safety and technology upgrades at all district schools, rebuilding 22 schools on existing sites, and fully renovating 19 schools.

The plan identified long-range needs of $769.48 million to rebuild schools on-site, $422.98 million to perform full-school renovations, $254.48 million for new school construction, and $225 million in deferred maintenance projects.

Since then, the district split the plan into two phases and added the construction of five Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) centers for $61.8 million and the rebuilding of Lindley K-8 campus for $28 million to the second phase.
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge
Louisiana - State legislators approved more than $1 billion in infrastructure projects focused on transportation and public works.

For the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the budget for road work is $729.5 million. The state will contribute $103.2 million of the total, while federal funding will make up the remaining money.

For flood control, projects are estimated to cost about $258.7 million, with the state contributing $39.2 million of the total.

Approved airport projects total $114.2 million, of which the state will contribute $26.1 million. Port projects are expected to cost $326.8 million, with the state responsible for covering $114.1 million of the total. Additionally, $39.9 million in new port projects were approved.

The Revenue Estimating Conference has not agreed on how much money the state government will be permitted to spend in the next fiscal year.
Wells Transportation Center in Maine
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will award $248.5 million in grant awards that will fund 32 projects in 27 states. The grants, which are issued under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will be administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Funding supports state and local railroad infrastructure projects to improve safety on tracks and at railroad crossings, as well as enhance the efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems. Of the projects to receive funding, 15 are located in opportunity zones, which are areas that were created to help revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments.

Some of the projects to receive grant funding are:
  • Kansas and Oklahoma - Accelerating Economic Prosperity in the Heartland: A Rural Freight Rail Project ($27 million) - Upgrades track, including rail replacement, ties, ballast, turnouts, repair bridges, and grade crossings on the South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (SKOL) Tulsa, Moline, and Neodesha Subdivisions allowing about 80 percent of the railroad to be capable of handling 286,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (286K);
  • Delaware, Maryland and Virginia - Critical Ongoing Railroad Rehabilitation Improving Delmarva Operations & Reliability ($18.8 million) - Refurbishes three Delmarva Central Railroad (DCR) rail bridges over navigable waterways in Bear and Seaford, Delaware, and Pocomoke City, Maryland; upgrades over 100 miles of track between Porter, Delaware, and Lecato, Virginia; and improves roughly nine railroad crossings in Delaware and Maryland;
  • Maine - Wells Area Improvement Project - ($16.87 million) - Constructs a new intercity passenger rail platform at the Wells Transportation Center and a pedestrian bridge to access the new platform, and extends an existing two-mile Pan Am Railway siding to become a 6-mile siding adjacent to the new platform in Wells;
  • Minnesota and South Dakota - Minnesota-South Dakota Rail Improvement Project ($14.46 million) - Includes numerous upgrades along roughly 38 miles of Class III Ellis and Eastern rail infrastructure between Brandon, South Dakota (about 6 miles west of the Minnesota state line), and Worthington, Minnesota, on approximately 11 bridges, one siding, about six miles of rail, and about 45 grade crossings; and,
  • Pennsylvania - McKean, Venango, and Crawford Counties Freight Rail Capacity and Safety Enhancement Project ($11.92 million) - Replaces and rehabilitates four bridges on the Western New York and Pennsylvania (WNYP) line in McKean and Venango counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania. This project will convert three truss bridges to girder bridges and replace the abutments on an existing girder bridge. Two of the bridges will continue as single-spans of the same length while the Oil Creek two-span bridge will become a three-span bridge.
East High School in Madison
Wisconsin - Madison's four main high schools - East, La Follette, Memorial, and West - are in need of repairs and renovations, and a new proposal aims to split $280 million evenly between the four schools. At its March 23 meeting, the school board will vote on which questions to put on the ballot for this November's election.

A 2017 assessment of the high schools assigned a letter grade to each physical component of a school, which were used to determine an overall grade indicating each school's condition.

La Follette, Memorial, and West earned C grades, and the East campus rated as a D.

The assessment estimated that in order to bring the schools up to a B grade, or the equivalent of being in good condition, $50 million would be needed for La Follette, $31 million for Memorial, $32 million for West, and $41 million for East.

Officials estimate that construction could begin after the 2021-2022 school year, when students leave for summer break. During this time, work would focus on extensive interior renovations, and would thereafter be phased out during the following nine months.

All four schools could have a major facelift finished in August 2024.
Ane Keohokalole Highway
Hawaii - The finance committee of Hawaii County advanced a $103 million bond bill on March 13 that would hasten the start of many road construction projects.

Funds would go toward work on the third phase of Ane Keohokalole Highway, Puna Connectivity, and emergency access routes in addition to rehabilitation of Paniolo Avenue and Waikoloa intersection construction, shoulder improvements on Kawili Street, resurfacing of Hohola Drive to Kekehau Street, and upgrades to Plumeria Street and Waianuenue Avenue.

The councilman who sponsored the bill said the bond issue would enable county leadership to identify top projects that would be eligible for state and federal grants because the projects have obtained financing.

A proposed county budget is scheduled for release in early May. If approved, it would be effective July 1.
Entry for Anthony Timberlands Center for Design
Arkansas - The University of Arkansas' (UA) Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design is getting a $16 million research center, and UA has chosen six design finalists for the project based on submitted concepts.

The Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation, which was announced in 2018 after a $7.5 million gift from private donors, will be home to timber-related and wood design programs, as well as a fabrication shop. Planned to be located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at Government Avenue, the center will be up to five stories tall and house classrooms, studios, seminar spaces, conference areas, faculty offices, and visiting faculty living quarters. In total, the center may include up to 50,000 square feet of floor space.
The project is expected to utilize mass timber and wood product construction sourced as much as possible from Arkansas forests and mills. Because the center will accommodate large-scale assemblies and take significant deliveries, a shared landscape design will be critical.

This month, UA trustees will be presented a choice for the design finalists, as design work is expected to begin this summer. Construction is scheduled to start in May 2021, and the project is anticipated to be completed in December 2022.
Port of Los Angeles Municipal Warehouse No 1
California - One of the Port of Los Angeles' most iconic buildings, Municipal Warehouse No. 1, will be redeveloped, as the Port's Waterfront Commercial Development Group has issued a prospectus on the reuse opportunity.

A formal request for information (RFI) and request for proposals (RFP) are expected to be issued later this year.

The Port is seeking a public-private partnership (P3) to help transform the 460,000-square-foot building into a commercial facility, with potential uses including for hospitality, entertainment, dining, office space, and marine-related commercial uses.

Interested parties may contact the port's director of waterfront and commercial real estate.
Albuquerque homeless shelter conceptual design
New Mexico - Albuquerque's mayor is promoting a vacant piece of land owned by the University of New Mexico (UNM) as one possible site for the city's planned homeless shelter.

Last year, voters approved funding for the project to come from $14 million in bond sales.

The Gateway Center will be a 300-bed emergency shelter located either at the city-owned Coronado Park near Interstate 40 and Third Street or in the old Lovelace hospital building on Gibson. City leaders indicated incorporating both sites into the project is a possibility.

Site selection and start of design work are scheduled for this spring. Construction is set to begin in summer 2021, and operations will start in spring 2022.
Woonsocket Police Department
Rhode Island - Some of Woonsocket's police and fire facilities are nearly 100 years old, and according to public safety officials, a new study is being planned to address the needs of the public safety buildings.

The study would examine the structural and spatial needs of the buildings, including future needs and the possibility of upgrading buildings or creating a public safety complex.

The city will develop a request for proposals (RFP) for a needs assessment that will include all four of Woonsocket's fire stations and its police station. An assessment will include recommendations for repairing, enhancing, or replacing existing facilities based on the most cost-effective course of action.
Flagler Executive Airport media day
Florida - The Flagler County Commission approved the Flagler Executive Airport's purchase of a 15-acre site that will be used for construction of a new general aviation terminal.

The parcel, which cost the airport $250,000, will have a new terminal building, roundabout, access road, and new parking. A total of $10 million will be spent over several years on the expansion project. Funds will not come from the county's budget; instead, they will come from Airport Enterprise Fund reserves.
Old Tremont Nail Factory site
Massachusetts - A cannabis manufacturing company set to be the main tenant of the Tremont Nail Factory has announced that it is pulling out of the deal.

Since expressing interest in the facility, the company has performed $300,000 in renovations and repairs to the steel building. These include a new skin, roof, windows, doors, and wiring, while the interior remains unfinished. Prospective tenants would be able to customize the interior to their needs.

Officials say that once more information is gathered regarding interest in the building, a new request for proposals (RFP) will be issued.
   View our Government Contracting Pipeline and Texas Government Insider newsletter archives

Iowa - Gov. Kim Reynolds appointed Dr. Ann Lebo as director of the Iowa Department of Education on March 13. Lebo succeeded Ryan Wise who accepted a position as dean of the School of Education at Drake University. She previously served as the executive director of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

Arkansas - University of Arkansas President Dr. Donald Bobbitt announced Chris Thomason will be the system's new vice president for planning and development, effective July 1. Thomason currently serves as the chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana. Prior to his tenure as chancellor, Thomason was elected prosecuting attorney for the Eighth North Judicial District in 2006 after serving two terms representing District 3 in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Minnesota - Kathy Hedin has been named director of Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health. Hedin most recently served as the department's interim director. Prior to that, she was manager of the Healthy Communities Division at Public Health.

Oregon - The city of Vale selected Russell Kirkpatrick as its new city manager. He succeeded Katy Lamb who retired at the end of February. Kirkpatrick previously was a city manager intern at the city of Yerington, Nevada.

Arizona - J.R. Sloan was appointed as permanent chief information officer (CIO) for the state of Arizona. He took over as interim CIO in July 2019 after Morgan Reed accepted a position in the private sector. He also will serve as chairman for the state's Information Technology Authorization Committee (ITAC). Prior to joining the state, Sloan gained experience in both operational and executive roles with enterprise software companies.

Louisiana - The city of Lafayette selected Rachel Holland as director of downtown development and planning. Holland most recently served as planning manager for a development portfolio. Before that, she was a planner at Lafayette Consolidated Government.
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