The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) continues the work of overhauling K-12 classrooms in the Buckeye State,
albeit with less funding, awarding a third fewer dollars in FY11 than in the previous fiscal year. School districts apparently
face the same fiscal crunch, with the number of “lapsed” projects spiking at roughly the same rate — 30 percent — as many
school officials scramble for local matching funds.
OSFC approved $345 million for nine projects in the recent fiscal year, with Warren Local Schools in Washington County
receiving the largest award of $75 million for classroom construction. Fort Recovery Local Schools had the smallest award,
$7 million, but also the lowest ratio of matching funds at $1.5 million.
Commission awards for FY11 compare to $525 million for FY10, when OSFC funded 25 projects in its benchmark Classroom
Facilities Assistance Program alone.
Participants in the school construction bond program, made possible by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
nearly doubled in the latest OSFC report, which provided the latest available figures for FY10. Hamilton County led the state
with more than $57 million in federally backed bonds. Total activity was $317 million in 81 school districts, compared to 42
districts in FY09.
The problem of failed school issues and lapsed funding struck roughly half of all Ohio counties in the recent fiscal year for a
total of 55 idled projects. Hancock County led the state with four. OSFC has withdrawn state funding for all lapsed projects,
but affected school districts can reapply when and if their local share is in place.
OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman, who returned to the commission in 2011 after his previous administration under
former Gov. Bob Taft, noted in the report that HB153 (Amstutz) has given staff and commissioners plenty to think about.
“The changes contained in this biennial budget bill give the commission new opportunities and responsibilities moving
forward,” he said, highlighting several initiatives including construction reform.
The move from multiple prime to single prime contracting is currently in the implementation stage with the Department of
Administrative Services (DAS), Hickman said, “The commission expects to integrate the DAS model into our programs in
late winter 2011 or early spring 2012.”
OSFC is also launching construction funding for college-preparatory board schools.
“The new program will allow the commission to partner with a board of trustees of a college-preparatory boarding school
program to construct or renovate the academic facilities for a boarding school campus,” Hickman noted. “The boarding
school board of trustees will be responsible for the non-academic and boarding spaces.”
Elsewhere, he said the new STEM School Facility Program created by HB153 will allow OSFC to fund STEM schools not
governed by a single school district.
Hickman also noted the continued progress on 21st century learning environments, supported by this year’s second annual
21st Century School Design Symposium. “We have also been able to help districts think of their education delivery model in new ways, as we have been able to use
the scale of our construction and renovation effort to attract national leaders in the movement towards 21st century school
design,” he said. He also pointed to Ohio’s reputation as a “national leader in the Green Buildings movement,” with five school projects in the
state awarded “Gold” certification by the U.S. Green Energy Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Hickman summed up the accomplishments of OSFC: “Since our inception in 1997, we have opened 863 new or renovated
buildings, housing over 475,000 students across the state. We expect to open our 1,000th building within the next 12-18
The full report can be found at http://osfc.ohio.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=5lqUQGFtqvA%3d&tabid=79.