Montgomery schools, higher education to get $33 million in construction funding -- Gazette.Net


In the state’s $3.5 billion capital budget for fiscal 2014, Montgomery County stands to gain more than $32.7 million from the state for educational facilities, though the final amount is still up in the air.

The county is banking on $40 million for school construction next year, as they approach the final approval of their own capital budget for fiscal 2014. Final approval is slated for May 23.

However, only $27.7 million has been set aside for the county thus far from the pot of $270 million state funding that has been allocated for school construction, said James Song, director of facilities management for Montgomery County Public Schools.

An additional $30 million has yet to be allocated to the counties. Where that money goes will be determined by the Board of Public Works, which does not meet until May 1. To meet their goal, the county would need to receive nearly half of the remaining state funding.

Initially, the county had requested more than $149 million for school construction, Song said.

The county will likely have to make adjustments from the rest of the capital budget to make up for the shortfall on schools, or will have to trim the school building budget.

The state’s budget also includes $5 million for the planned Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility at the Universities at Shady Grove. The funding will cover design for the 220,000-square-foot facility, which will include laboratory and classroom space, both for new programs like dentistry and engineering, and to expand existing programs.

Over the next five years, a total of $159.2 million in state funding is expected for the $179 million facility. The county is expected to contribute $20 million to the project.

Enrollment at USG, which offers programs from nine institutions in the University System of Maryland, has grown dramatically since 2007, and is expected to continue to grow well into the future.

“This building is part of the whole strategic plan for the county and the region,” said Joe Bucci, spokesman for USG. “The county has made a commitment to bioscience and engineering and growth in those areas.”

The capital budget also includes more than $2.6 million in bond bill funding for the county, out of more than $5.7 million requested. Bond bills generally pay for capital projects of nonprofits agencies.