OLR Bill Analysis

HB 7102

Emergency Certification

AN ACT CONCERNING AUTHORIZATION OF STATE GRANT COMMITMENTS FOR SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS AND CONCERNING CHANGES TO THE STATUTES CONCERNING SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECTS.

SUMMARY:

This bill authorizes the administrative services (DAS) commissioner to enter into grant commitments on behalf of the state for 18 new school construction projects. It authorizes state grants totaling $181.2 million related to total project costs of $296.5 million. It also reauthorizes and changes grant commitments, due to cost and scope changes, for:

1. six previously authorized local projects with a total increased grant commitment of $50.2 million and

2. three previously authorized technical high school projects with a total increased grant commitment of $248 million.

Under the state school construction grant program, the state (1) reimburses towns and local districts for a percentage of eligible school construction costs (with less wealthy towns receiving a higher reimbursement percentage) and (2) pays 100% of technical high school costs. The state runs the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS).

The bill also allows DAS to place a project on the school construction priority list before local approval of the local share of the cost, provided the applying town schedules a referendum to approve the local share with the referendum results to be submitted to DAS before November 15 of the year of application.

The bill also requires DAS to (1) develop a standard checklist for school construction projects that includes testing for two common carcinogens and (2) establish a school building project clearinghouse to publicly share DAS-approved school project designs, plans, and specifications.

The bill exempts specified school construction projects from various statutory and regulatory requirements to allow them to, among other things, (1) qualify for state reimbursement grants or additional grants through a higher level of reimbursement, (2) increase maximum project costs of previously approved projects, or (3) change the scope of previously approved projects.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The construction grant commitment provisions and the construction notwithstandings are effective upon passage, except the notwithstanding for the Linden Street School project in Plainville and all other provisions are effective July 1, 2015.

1 — NEW AUTHORIZATIONS AND PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROJECTS WITH CHANGES

Table 1 shows the new school construction projects the bill authorizes. Tables 2 and 3 list changes in previously authorized school and technical high school projects.

Table 1: New School Construction Projects Authorized

District

School

Project

Estimated

Project Costs

Estimated

Grant

State Reimbursement %

South Windsor

Orchard Hill Elementary School

New construction

$33,521,724

$11,611,925

34.64%

Stamford

Rogers Magnet Extension

Magnet school facility purchase

77,312,385

61,849,908

80%

CREC

Aerospace Elementary

Magnet new construction, site purchase

61,572,181

49,257,745

80%

Goodwin College

Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School

Magnet new construction

19,935,061

15,948,049

80%

North Haven

North Haven Middle School

Extension, alteration, and roof replacement

69,814,452

27,674,449

39.64%

Simsbury

Squadron Line School

Alteration

1,050,000

345,030

32.86%

Simsbury

Henry James Memorial School

Alteration, code violation

1,055,000

346,673

32.86%

Region 1

Housatonic Valley Regional High School

Alteration

318,198

137,493

43.21%

Clinton

Jared Eliot School

Alteration and energy conservation

600,000

267,840

44.64%

New Canaan

South School

Alteration and energy conservation

2,533,367

515,794

20.36%

New London

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School

Energy conservation

1,989,963

1,549,385

77.86%

Old Saybrook

Kathleen E. Goodwin School

Energy conservation

1,610,243

454,250

28.21%

Windham

W. B. Sweeney School

Energy conservation

100,000

79,290

79.29%

Windham

Windham Middle School

Energy conservation

1,720,000

1,363,788

79.29%

Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks High School

Energy conservation

7,555,000

4,101,610

54.29%

Woodbridge

Beecher Road School

Alteration, roof replacement, and energy conservation

13,345,000

3,717,917

27.86%

ACES

ACES Village School

Regional special education and energy conservation

1,231,748

985,398

80%

ACES

ACES Mill Road School

Regional special education and energy conservation

1,223,678

978,942

80%

Total

18 projects

 

296,488,000

181,185,486

 

Table 2: Previously Authorized School Construction Projects with Substantial Changes in Scope or Cost

District

School

Project

Previous Grant Authorization

New Grant Authorization

Change

Bridgeport

New Harding High School

New construction

$61,202,581

$83,394,541

$22,191,960

Bridgeport

Central High School

Extension, alteration, and roof replacement

57,420,953

67,588,300

10,167,347

Naugatuck

Naugatuck High School

Renovation and extension

58,475,925

59,325,000

849,075

Naugatuck

Central Administration

Board of education administration facility, extension and renovation

1,137,038

712,500

(424,538)

CREC

CREC Discovery Academy

Magnet school facility purchase, extension and alteration

33,891,250

49,444,055

15,552,805

ACES

ECA- Little Theatre

Magnet school extension and alteration

6,636,823

8,511,604

1,874,781

Total

Six projects

 

218,764,570

268,976,000

50,211,430

Table 3: Previously Authorized Technical High School Construction Projects

with Substantial Scope or Cost Changes

District

School & Town

Project

Previous

Authorization

Requested

Authorization

Change

CTHSS

Bullard-Havens (Bridgeport)

Extension, alteration

$27,331,000

$60,383,000

$33,052,000

CTHSS

Windham (Windham)

Extension, alteration

42,051,000

151,294,981

109,243,981

CTHSS

Vinal (Middletown)

Extension, alteration

51,076,000

156,825,315

105,749,315

Total

Three projects

 

120,458,000

368,503,296

248,045,296

2 – CONSTRUCTION PROJECT CHECKLIST

The bill requires DAS, by October 1, 2015, to develop a standard checklist for school building construction projects. The checklist must at least include testing for polychlorinated biphenyls and asbestos.

Starting October 1, 2015, DAS must assess any school building construction project receiving state funding for compliance with the newly developed standard checklist.

3 – SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT CLEARINGHOUSE

The bill requires DAS to establish a clearinghouse for collecting and distributing school building project designs, plans, and specifications. The clearinghouse must include a publicly accessible database for collecting and storing relevant publications and DAS-approved school building project designs, plans, and specifications.

The bill specifies that any architect or professional engineer who is registered or licensed to practice in the state may submit designs, plans, and specifications for posting in the school building project clearinghouse. The licensed architect of record or professional engineer of record will retain ownership and liability for any design, plan, or specifications he or she submits to the clearinghouse.

4 – SECURING THE LOCAL SHARE OF A SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Current law prohibits DAS and the education commissioner from accepting an application for a school building project unless the applicant has secured the authorization for the local share of the project costs, which is typically done through approval by local referendum. The bill instead prohibits the DAS commissioner from adding such projects to the school construction priority list (the list that becomes the school construction bill) and drops references to the education commissioner. (Several years ago the duty of preparing the list was transferred to the DAS commissioner.) It specifies the local authorization must be effective under the general statutes, local ordinance, or charter.

It also allows a project to be added to the list if (1) the applicant has scheduled and prepared a referendum, if necessary to approve local funding, and (2) the referendum results are submitted by November 15 of the application year.

5-9 – SCHOOL SAFETY INFRASTRUCTURE COUNCIL

The bill expands the School Safety Infrastructure Council membership from 10 to 11 by adding a member who must be a licensed architect appointed by the governor. Unchanged by the bill are the other seven appointed members (the legislative leaders appoint six and the governor appoints one) and the three ex officio members.

Under current law, the council is charged with developing and updating school safety infrastructure standards for all school construction projects. The bill replaces “standards” with “criteria” and leaves unchanged all the council's existing responsibilities. By law the administrative services commissioner chairs the council, which must annually submit the infrastructure criteria to the commissioners of education and emergency services and public protection, the School Building Projects Advisory Council, and the Education and Public Safety and Security committees.

10-62 ─ SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT EXEMPTIONS AND MODIFICATIONS

The bill exempts specified school construction projects from various statutory and regulatory requirements to allow them to, among other things, (1) qualify for state reimbursement grants or additional grants through a higher level of reimbursement, (2) increase maximum project costs of previously approved projects, or (3) change the scope of previously approved projects. These exemptions are referred to as “notwithstanding” provisions.

Table 4 indicates the bill section and summarizes each exemption and any applicable conditions. Different types of projects (e.g., new construction, renovation) have different reimbursement rates.

Table 4: 2015 School Construction “Nothwithstandings”

Bill

Municipality/ Grantee

School & Project

Exemption, Waiver, or Other Change

10

New Haven

Common Ground High School, extension and alteration

Increases the maximum project cost from $7,450,00 to $9,750,000

Waives the limit on the number of times project can be submitted for change of cost or scope, provided plans and specifications are submitted to DAS

Permits private, federal, or state funds (other than school construction) to be used for the project without any deduction from the school construction reimbursement amount

If private, federal, and non-school construction state money exceeds the local share of project costs, the excess must be used for the educational purposes of the school

11

New Haven

Bowen Field, construction of outdoor athletic facility with lighting

Expands project authorization to cover installation of synthetic surfaces

Eliminates the requirement that private, federal, or state funds (other than school construction) used for the project will be deducted from the school construction reimbursement amount

Expands permitted use of private, federal, and state funds (other than school construction) to be used for demolition and other supplemental purposes in addition to PCP removal

12

New Haven

Helene Grant School, new construction

Increases the maximum project cost from $41.6 million to $48.6 million

13

New Haven

Central administration offices, new construction

Increases the maximum project cost from $1.4 million to $2.4 million

14

New Haven

New Haven Academy

Increases the maximum project cost from $40 million to $44 million

15

New Haven

Strong 21st Century Communications Magnet School, new construction

Extends the deadline for New Haven to file application from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016

16

New Haven

Worthington Hooker School, alteration and roof replacement

Waives standard competitive bidding process requirements and instead allows submission of public advertisements for each subcontract and signed affidavit from construction manager to serve as proof that contracts were publicly bid and awarded to the lowest qualified bidder

17

New Britain

Gaffney School, renovation

Changes project designation from extension and alteration to renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

18

Hartford

Sport and Medical Science Academy, magnet new construction

Waives deadline for submitting change orders that would otherwise be late and therefore not reimbursable provided orders are reviewed and approved

19

Hartford

University High School of Science and Engineering, magnet new construction

Waives deadline for submitting change orders that would otherwise be late and therefore not reimbursable provided orders are reviewed and approved

20

Hartford

Asian Studies Academy at Bellizzi School, extension, alteration, and roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

21

Hartford

Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School, extension, alteration, and roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

22

Hartford

Global Communications Academy

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

23

Barkhamsted

Barkhamsted Elementary School, energy conservation

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $759,810, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, and is otherwise eligible

24

Watertown

Swift Middle School, renovation

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

25

Lisbon

Lisbon Central School, energy conservation

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $235,200, application is submitted by November 30, 2015, and is otherwise eligible

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

26

Woodbridge

Beecher Road School, alteration, roof replacement, and energy conservation

Permits bid prior to plan approval

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

27

Bloomfield

Bloomfield High School, extension, alteration, and roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

28

Bloomfield

Carmen Arace Middle School, alteration and roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

29

Bloomfield

Metacomet Elementary School, extension and alteration

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

30

Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks High School, energy conservation

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

31

East Windsor

Broad Brook Elementary School, extension/energy conservation

Increases project maximum costs to $6.5 million

32

Danbury

Park Avenue School, extension and alteration

Waives repayment of funds by allowing enrollment figure of 596 when actual number is lower

33

Darien

Central offices, purchase and alteration

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $6,555,205, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, and is otherwise eligible

34

New London

New London High School, new construction

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $98,026,000, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, the education commissioner deems the district's magnet school enrollment plan reasonable,

and the project is otherwise eligible

35

Litchfield

Litchfield Center School, code violations

Permits bid prior to plan approval

36

New London

Magnet district

Extends the deadline for submitting the magnet school district application to June 30, 2016

37

Stratford

Stratford High School

Expands project description to include site acquisition cost up to $700,000

Changes project from extension and alteration/roof replacement to a renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

38

East Hampton

East Hampton High School, extension, alteration, and roof replacement

Changes project designation from extension and alteration and roof replacement to renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard and allows 119,000 square feet as the maximum square footage for the project

39

Fairfield

Fairfield Woods Middle School, extension and alteration

Waives deadline for submitting change orders that would otherwise be late and therefore not reimbursable provided they are reviewed and approved

40

Trumbull

Middlebrook Elementary School, energy conservation and code violation

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $1,534,000, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, and is otherwise eligible

Waives requirement that bid not be let until specifications are approved

41

Newington

Martin Kellogg Middle School, alteration

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

42

Newington

John Wallace Middle School, alteration

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

43

North Haven

North Haven Middle School, extension and alteration and roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard and allows 135,847 square feet as the maximum square footage for the project

Makes eligible for reimbursement the alterations to the gym, cafeteria, auditorium, and storage areas, provided the costs do not exceed $2,052,036

44

Region 12

Shepaug Valley School, (application not yet submitted but expected to be extension and alteration)

Makes project eligible for reimbursement provided

application that includes projected enrollment and local funding authorization is filed by November 15, 2015 and that State Department of Education approves it as a new agricultural science and technology center

45

Manchester

Bennet Middle School, extension and alteration

Makes project eligible for state aid provided costs do not exceed $17,961,826, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, and is otherwise eligible

Expands description of project to include improvements to former Cheney School and boiler plant buildings at 39/41 School Street, including roof replacement, and connecting buildings to Bennet Middle School via a pedestrian connector and related improvements to create a cohesive campus

Changes project from extension and alteration/roof replacement to a renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

46

Waterbury

Duggan Elementary School, renovation and extension

Waives deadline for submitting change orders that would otherwise be late and therefore not reimbursable provided they are reviewed and approved

47

Waterbury

Reed School, new construction and site purchase

Waives deadline for submitting change orders that would otherwise be late and therefore not reimbursable provided they are reviewed and approved

48

Hamden

Alice Peck Elementary School, extension and alteration

Makes project eligible for reimbursement provided

costs do not exceed $2,540,400, application is submitted by September 30, 2015, and project is otherwise eligible

49

Southington

Thalberg Elementary School, extension and alteration, roof replacement

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

50

Southington

Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School, extension and alteration, roof replacement, and site purchase

Allows a change-order project cost increase of up to 8%, rather than 5%

51

Southington

John F. Kennedy Middle School, extension and alteration, roof replacement, and site purchase

Allows a change-order project cost increase of up to 8%, rather than 5%

52

West Haven

West Haven High School, extension and alteration, roof replacement

Changes project designation from extension and alteration and roof replacement to renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

53

Rocky Hill

Intermediate School, new construction

Makes project eligible for reimbursement provided costs do not exceed $31,792,182, application is submitted by June 30, 2015, and project is otherwise eligible

Permits town to receive an additional 15% in its eligible cost reimbursement rate, which reflects the savings to the state of increasing enrollment in the Open Choice program through this school instead of paying for students to attend an interdistrict magnet school

54

Putnam

Putnam High School, extension and alteration, roof replacement

Central administration (Putnam High School), alteration, roof replacement

Changes project designation to renovation (this triggers a higher state reimbursement level)

55

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)

Museum Academy, new construction and site acquisition

Changes the project description and scope to new construction and site acquisition

56

CREC

Public Safety Academy, magnet school new construction

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

57

CREC

Discovery Academy, magnet school new construction

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

58

CREC

Academy of Aerospace, magnet school new construction

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

59

CREC

Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy

Waives the square-feet-per-pupil space standard

60

Plainville

Linden Street School, extension and alteration

Broadens project description to include abatement and site restoration and improvement for site access, parking and connective areas to the new school; expands maximum project costs from $2.4 to $3 million; provides that scope and cost not further expand; and requires the town to approve the appropriation

61

Bridgeport

Black Rock School, extension, alteration, and site purchase

Permits any unexpended site acquisition funds to the project to be used for other authorized project costs and the funds may be included as part of the local share of such other authorized costs

62

Torrington

Wolcott Technical High School, construction project, new construction

Makes project eligible for state funding for costs up to $153,345,700 provided application is submitted by September 1, 2015, and project is otherwise eligible