Editor's Focus
Editor's Focus: Funding for facility improvements

Editor's Focus: Funding for facility improvements

Many schools and universities are either spending or planning to spend significant sums of money on constructing new facilities and improving existing buildings—and activity is happening across the nation.

One of the more active states is Texas. Almost $5 billion in school bond issues were passed last month alone. The largest being a $1.2 billion bond by the Cypress-Fairbanks district that will go toward renovating campuses as well as building new campuses to accommodate growth. Other Texas school districts that passed major bond issues last month include Frisco ($775 million), Arlington ($663 million) and Northside ($648 million).

New York City plans to spend more than $4 billion on school construction over the next five years. Among the initiatives include reducing class sizes by creating almost 40,000 new seats. California school districts will benefit from funds received from Proposition 39, which provides institutions approximately $2.5 billion over five years to support energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, as well as improvements to reduce future operating costs and improve health and safety conditions. Numerous other school districts across the nation also are in spending mode.

But school districts are not the only ones allocating considerable funds to construction, renovation and repair of facilities. Colleges and universities also are spending large sums on infrastructure projects.

Among some of the more recently announced projects: Ohio University, Athens, is planning to spend more than $400 million on construction and renovation over the next six years; colleges and universities in Missouri are receiving more than $220 million from the state for capital projects.

In addition, schools and universities are making use of various funding sources to implement security and safety improvements. As part of Newtown, Conn., schools recently passed budget, a combination of grants, general fund money and donations will result in more security personnel, video surveillance, door access control and other security enhancements. Penn State University just finished installing 422 security cameras at a cost of $1.4 million. The university will budget for cameras in all future buildings and renovations.

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