SPRINGFIELD- The state’s School Construction Program is a $500 million per year initiative directed at replacing aging school buildings and alleviating overcrowded classrooms. Governor Blagojevich recently proposed legislation to expand CDB’s role in this program by allowing them to fully administer the grant program and manage the construction of downstate schools. If approved by the legislature, CDB will acquire an additional 13 positions to ensure the success and quality of this program next fiscal year.
“If Illinois is going to be in the business of providing construction administration, our first priority should be schools. Then we can concentrate on the construction, renovation and maintenance of state-owned buildings,” said CDB Executive Director Anthony D. Rossi. “Because we are taking a hard look at how the state has spent money in the past, we’ve been able to find the resources we need to keep making education our first priority.”
“We believe that we could save nearly $160 million over four years through better management of school construction,” Director Rossi said. “By eliminating the six percent fee normally charged for project management, the state could build 14 more schools and 350 new classrooms.”
CDB would implement a one percent grant administration fee on school construction projects to fund construction administration.
The Capital Development Board is aggressively pursuing other improvements to reform state government including:
- Researching proposals to help small or disadvantaged contractors increase their bonding capacity.
- Studying dozens of cost saving options including: instituting a peer review process on design drawings prior to bid, providing value engineering on major projects and enforcing stronger error and omission policies.
- Reorganizing and re-engineering the Professional Services Unit to ensure that bid documents are properly reviewed and accurate before released.
- Achieving a higher level of accountability and efficiency through new management initiatives that include; reduction of spending on change orders by having all parties agree to the budget and solution, increased compliance with design and construction schedules, and assurance that poor industry performance leads to meaningful actions.
- Working with user agencies to develop complete, well-defined scope statements thus avoiding the high costs associated with changes made immediately prior or just after bidding.
- Providing opportunities for varied partners by increasing the number of Project Labor Agreements and providing additional outreach opportunities to promote more minority and female participation.
CDB has statewide capital projects totaling over $2 billion. Funding generally follows two types of appropriations: operational appropriations and project-related appropriations. The project-related appropriation can be broken into two distinct parts, those for school construction grants and all other capital appropriations.
“Facing a historic deficit, Governor Blagojevich froze all CDB FY01-03 capital projects that were not yet in construction early last year. The Governor’s Office, CDB, and the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget thoroughly reviewed all of these projects before they were released to ensure that we were being fiscally responsible and that they met the priorities set forth by the Governor,” said Rossi.
“We are also proud of our aggressive goals and minority outreach successes which support the Governor’s initiatives.” “A larger and stronger pool of architects and engineers are being chosen to perform CDB work, which benefits all of Illinois from a quality standpoint and provides opportunities for a more diverse workforce.” “GroundBreakers is marketed toward minority and female-owned firms to aid them in building work experience for their futures.”
CDB’s GroundBreakers Program is aimed at expanding the number of design firms qualified to work on state projects. CDB’s goal is to award new firms a small project and give them specialized attention, which provides them an opportunity to establish a proven record of quality performance that is vital in successfully completing larger state construction projects.
As the construction management agency for the state of Illinois, CDB oversees the construction of new state facilities, such as prisons, universities, mental health hospitals and state parks. In addition, CDB is responsible for renovation and rehabilitation projects at the state’s 8,441 state-owned buildings.