Inside: Capital Improvements

NEEDED: $1 BILLION

The Wake County (N.C.) school board has approved a $1.05 billion capital-improvement program that will pay for 11 new elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools by 2010.

The proposal also calls for substantial renovations of 13 existing schools. In addition, the district plans to convert enough of its elementary schools to year-round calendars so that the district can accommodate an additional 3,000 classroom seats.

The space is needed badly to provide enough classrooms in the rapidly growing district. Already among the nation's 25 largest districts, Wake County expects enrollment for 2006-07 to be about 127,500; an additional 72,000 students are projected by 2015.

The school board hopes to acquire the funds through a bond election in November. It has asked the Wake County Board of Commissioners to place the measure on the ballot. Commissioners have indicated that they will put the proposal before voters.

ARIZONA APPROVES PROJECTS

The Arizona School Facilities Board has approved $438.7 million in capital requests that will result in 35 new schools.

In its Fiscal 2006 Capital Plan Cycle, the facilities board has given the OK to 26 elementary schools, one middle school and eight high schools. Five building additions also were approved.

The project costs range from $1.16 million for a 110-student addition in the Fowler Elementary District in Phoenix to $32.1 million for an 1,800-student high school in the Dysart Unified District and in the Tolleson Union District. Dysart also received approval for three K-8 schools.

Districts submit their projects for new construction to the facilities board in the fall. The board analyzes the submissions and picks worthy projects. The approvals enable the districts to move ahead with designs for the proposed schools.

NEW STADIUM FOR UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

The Minnesota legislature has approved plans for a $248 million football stadium on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

Construction on the 50,000-seat, open-air stadium is expected to begin this summer. The state will cover 55 percent of the construction costs; the rest of the funding will come from naming rights, private donations and an increase in student fees.

School officials say Minnesota is the only university in the Big 10 Conference without an on-campus football stadium. The school's team has played its home games in the Metrodome since 1982.

The facility is scheduled to open in 2009.

OHIO CONSTRUCTION

School construction administered by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) from 1997, when it was created, through the end of 2005:
411 Number of buildings completed
75 Number of buildings completed in 2005
116 Number of buildings under construction
142 Number of buildings in design
$4.1 billion Funds disbursed by the state for school construction since 1997
187 Number of school districts with completed OSFC projects
Source: Ohio State Facilities Commission, Annual Report 2005
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