The Senate Finance Committee took testimony March 2 regarding HB 487, which among many other things would merge the State Architects Office (SAO) with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) into a new Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC).

Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) Executive Director Rick Hickman explained the bill’s changes regarding the merging of his office and that of the state architect into the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. In answer to a series of questions from Chairman Widener, he noted the following:

–       The language regarding the inclusion of aspects of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) engineering division relates to a study to be done by the end of the year about the efficacy of merging all or parts of the office with the new commission. He said talks with ODNR have started.

–       Regarding how the two components of the office would work, Hickman said they would continue to operate as they do now but he would think the school facilities component would move toward the state architect’s model of actually managing construction projects.

–       He said the two will move into the same office space and are in the process of looking for a new location in a state-owned property.

–       Asked why rules are to be promulgated under Chap. 111 and not Chap. 119, Hickman said he did not know, saying OSFC operates under 119 rules now. He saw no problem with returning to that.