September 18, 2023
For Immediate Release
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – A first-of-its-kind public-private partnership (P3) has delivered the first set of new schools under the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) Blueprint Schools Program. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies will be held throughout the county this week to celebrate the bundled school delivery initiative used to design, build, finance and maintain multiple K- 12 schools. The first five schools, all middle schools, opened their doors to 6,000 students in late August. The number of students served will surpass more than 8,000 once the sixth school, a kindergarten through eighth-grade academy, is completed in November.
Prince George’s County Education and Community Partners (PGCECP) – a collaborative team of Fengate Asset Management (Development & Financing member), Gilbane Development Company (Development & Financing Member), Gilbane Building Company (Lead Design-Builder), Stantec (Architect & Design Lead), and Honeywell (Lead Services Provider) – delivered the state-of-the-art education facilities in just two and a half years, while creating 3,000 jobs for local businesses.
Phase I includes:
“The Blueprint Schools Program shows our children that we are committed to providing state-of-the-art facilities that are conducive to learning and befitting their dignity,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “When I took office, we were facing an $8 billion school construction backlog, and the Alternative Construction Finance program provided an innovative solution to build new schools quickly and at a cost savings. We are proud to be a national leader in new school construction while also creating generational wealth for our local, small, and minority-owned businesses.”
Under a traditional design, bid, build model, PGCPS estimates that six new schools would cost $868.8 million to design and construct, and take 16 years to complete. The six new Blueprint Schools were completed for $485.8 million and include 30 years of facility maintenance by PGCECP (through its Lead Services Provider Honeywell). The maintenance plan ensures the schools continue to function at a high level over the long term, in turn avoiding the burden of deferred maintenance. PGCPS expects to realize $170 million in savings over 30 years, as compared to a traditional model.
A cornerstone of the Blueprint Schools Program is its commitment to supporting minority and locally- owned small businesses. As of August 2023, PGCECP exceeded the goal by awarding 33 percent of contracts ($134 million) to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), including $68 million awarded to Prince George’s County businesses and $65 million awarded to county MBEs.
“These new school buildings should be the standard for every school in Prince George’s County. They are a manifestation of our belief in our students’ abilities to change the world,” said Prince George’s County Public Schools Superintendent Millard House II. “From Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) labs to creative arts spaces, the 21 st-century resources we’re providing will arm our students with the tools needed to compete and succeed.”
In addition to STEAM labs equipped with 3D-printers and robotics, each school includes a video production studio, community clinics and media center. Moreover, they are all solar and electric vehicle (EV) charging-ready, with solar installation anticipated to be complete by fall 2024. Additionally, Hyattsville Middle School is equipped with a black box theater to support its Creative and Performing Arts Program. Colin Powell Academy will also feature an elementary library, four pre-kindergarten classrooms, an auxiliary gym and innovation lab.
“This program is about more than six buildings. These new schools ensure that, for generations to come, many tens of thousands of students will have access to the resources they will need to thrive,” said PGCPS Associate Superintendent for Supporting Services Jason Washington. “We did not follow the status quo. We had to be open to trying new ways of achieving big goals — and it paid off. As you walk across the schools and through the front doors, these new buildings mirror our expectations that our students will excel.”
Over the course of the two-and-a-half-year delivery period, PGCECP also led a community benefits program that included a $1 million endowed fund to support students and educators; $60,000 across three years to 30 Prince George’s Community College students in scholarships through Gilbane; and $10,000 per year starting at operations through Honeywell’s scholarship program.
“We’re grateful to have helped Prince George’s County Public Schools realize its transformative vision in delivering a bundle of six schools through this first-of-its-kind public-private partnership,” noted Mac Bell, Managing Director, Infrastructure Investments, Fengate. “We’re proud to have helped create a lasting legacy not only with the physical school buildings but through the impact of building relationships and working with such a strong bench of local and minority businesses.
“This project is a testament to our team’s dedication and to the effectiveness of the public-private partnership delivery model, with Prince George’s County Education and Community Partners successfully delivering multiple schools on time even in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Ed Broderick, President and CEO of Gilbane Development Company. “Through our partner Honeywell, we look forward to maintaining these schools over the coming 30 years to a standard that Prince George’s County Public Schools and its stakeholders can be proud of.”
About Prince George's County Public Schools Alternative Construction Finance Program - Blueprint Schools Program
The Blueprint Schools Program creates state-of-the-art educational environments for Prince George's County students, staff, and community for generations to come. The program is an alternative construction financing program that utilizes a Public-Private Partnership (P3) to deliver six new schools by 2023. The development team selected for the Program, referred to as Prince George's County Education & Community Partners (PGCECP) will receive payments, over 30 years, to design and build six schools to Prince George’s County Public Schools's; specifications as well as assume maintenance of the buildings throughout the contract period. The PGCECP team is composed of Fengate Asset Management (Development & Financing member), Gilbane Development Company (Development & Financing Member), Gilbane Building Company (Lead Design-Builder), Stantec (Architect & Design Lead), and Honeywell (Lead Services Provider). The Program follows an availability payment model where the District and the County dedicate funding to support the 30-year life cycle of the program as opposed to a revenue risk model where funding would depend on revenue generated by end-user payments for use of the building like rent, retail, etc. PGCPS’s department of Capital Projects will continue to run a number of replacement and new schools on a parallel construction path using traditional funding sources.