AIA Pennsylvania’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Amal Mahrouki, was in attendance as the PA Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee made several recommendations Wednesday (May 23rd) regarding the state’s reimbursement program for school districts for costs associated with construction and reconstruction and lease of public school buildings (commonly known as PlanCon). These recommendations include shortening the administrative process, recognizing high-performance building standards, creating a maintenance and repair program and streamlining the reimbursement formula, according to statement from the co-chairs of the advisory committee.
The advisory committee was established pursuant to Act 25 of 2016 to review and make recommendations on school district construction and reconstruction to the Governor and the General Assembly and was co-chaired by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, House Education Committee Chairman Stan Saylor and Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera.
The current PlanCon process includes 11 steps and it has taken an average of 14 months to get through the first seven steps of the process. The advisory committee is recommending to eliminate five of the original administrative steps and combine the remaining six steps into four for the new four-step administration process. The new four-step process would include project justification, construction, project bid awards and project completion.
“Throughout the committee’s review of the PlanCon process, we heard testimony that the formula for reimbursement for school construction projects needed to be simple to understand, and relevant to current school construction costs and the demographics of the Commonwealth’s school districts,” the co-chairs of the committee said.
Testimony and commentary from AIA Pennsylvania members including President Scott Compton, Managing Principal at Klein and Hoffman Architects, is included in the final report.
Scott presented background on best practices for building lifecycle analysis and for maintenance. He recommended the state and local school districts, take a new approach to building maintenance. His testimony is highlighted in the report, “Maintenance should not be an afterthought or the unexpected consequence of buildings ‘value engineered’ with the singular focus on reducing first costs.”
Additional AIA members that who acted as resources to the advisory committee include Phillip G. Foreman, NCARB, AIA, President & CEO, The Foreman Group Companies (November 22, 2016) and Mike Kelly, Principal, KCBA Architects (May 4, 2017)