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Policy 6020 – School Planning/School Construction Programs

The purpose of the policy is to establish guidelines for the administration of the School Planning and the School Construction programs.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education is responsible for providing safe, nurturing, and inclusive educational and work environments for all students and staff. The Board recognizes the continuing need to plan, design, and construct new educational facilities and to renovate or make additions to existing schools that are in accordance with all applicable codes, as well as Maryland and federal law. Fulfilling this responsibility requires a comprehensive program that monitors population trends, enrollment trends, educational program spatial requirements, cost/benefit considerations, technologies that support environmentally responsible construction, and an annual six-year capital improvement program.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the administration of the school planning and the school construction programs in the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS).

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Architect Firm – A designation usually reserved by law for a person or organization professionally qualified and duly licensed to perform architectural services including, but not necessarily limited to, analysis of project requirements; creation and development of the project design; preparation of drawings, specifications, and bidding requirements; and general administration of the construction contract.

  2. Bid – The price a contractor commits to for constructing a project.

  3. Bid and Award Procedures – Criteria to determine the award of a contract pursuant to Policy 4050 Procurement of Goods and/or Services.

  4. Capital Improvement Program (CIP) – All physical betterments or improvements listed as part of the Board’s annual approved capital budget.

  5. Capital Improvement Project – Any physical betterment or improvement and any preliminary studies and surveys relative thereto, including but not limited to, any property of a permanent nature, and equipment needed in connection with such improvement when first erected or acquired.

  6. Change Order – A written document to the contractor signed by the owner and engineer or architect, issued after the execution of the contract, authorizing a change in the work or an adjustment in the contract sum.

  7. Construction Manager (CM) – A person or organization hired to participate in the preconstruction phase of a project to provide cost estimating, project schedules, constructability reviews, and value engineering services, as well as coordinate and manage the overall project schedule and the construction phases of a project with the objective of minimizing project construction time and cost while maintaining the quality, function, and aesthetics of the building.

  8. Design Phases – The three phases of an architect’s basic services, which include:

    1. Schematic Design (SD) – the first phase of the architect’s basic services. In this phase, the architect meets with the project planning team to ascertain the requirements of the project and prepares schematic design studies consisting of drawings and other documents illustrating the scale and relationship of the project components for approval by the Board.

    2. Design Development (DD) – the second phase of the architect’s basic services. In this phase the architect prepares, from the approved schematic design studies, the design development documents for approval by the Board. These design documents consist of drawings and other documents to fix and describe the size and character of the entire project as to structural, mechanical and electrical systems, materials and other essentials as may be appropriate.

    3. Construction Documents (CD) – the third phase of the architect’s basic services. In this phase the architect prepares, from the approved design development documents, the working drawings, specifications, and necessary bidding information for approval by the Board.

  9. Facility Design – Plans, elevations, sections, and other drawings and specifications that may be necessary for a building or other structure.

  10. Facility Planning – Educational and architectural planning and analysis used to produce and design the concept for school projects.

  11. Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) – The state agency responsible for the review/approval of construction documents and funding of schools or school construction projects.

  12. Office of Safety and Security – The HCPSS office that is responsible for reviewing and monitoring the design and construction phases related to security initiatives and safety regulatory compliance.

  13. Office of School Construction – The HCPSS office that is responsible for all phases of planning, design and construction of new schools as well as additions to and comprehensive modernization of existing schools, from planning through occupancy.

  14. Office of School Planning – The HCPSS office that is responsible for projecting needs based on demographics for the purpose of assisting the Superintendent in the development of the Capital Improvement Program.

  15. Relocatable – A prefabricated, stand-alone building providing temporary capacity for a school and that are excluded from program capacity.

  16. Scope Study – Investigation and assessment of needs conducted to determine the magnitude of work for a particular project or facility.

  17. State of Maryland Public School Construction Program (PSCP) – Program that provides funding for public school construction.

  18. Sustainable Design – Design that seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non.renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

  19. Target Utilization – Enrollment between 90% and 110% utilization of the program capacity of a school facility.

  20. Utilization – The comparison of a facility’s program capacity and its enrollment or projected future enrollment.

IV. Standards

  1. This policy and associated implementation procedures apply to the capital improvement projects that are listed as part of the Board’s annually approved capital budget, which requires contracts and consultant agreements.

  2. The HCPSS will employ a sustainable design construction that supports educational program needs and creates a safe and nurturing environment for students and staff within allotted budgetary resources.

  3. The school planning/school construction program will include a sequential plan of action and will be divided into the following ten general categories, each requiring professionally trained and experienced staff to plan and carry out the requirements of the program consistent with the Superintendent’s Safety Guidelines for Renovation and Construction Projects and all applicable regulations.

    1. Long-Range Planning and Student Population Projection

      1. This category will involve the annual projection of pupil population growth by the Office of School Planning. Short-range demographic studies to support the Capital Improvement Program, school attendance area studies, transportation planning, and other special needs are also included.

      2. By state regulation, the Board is also required to develop, maintain, and annually update a master plan for the school system for submission to the IAC. This plan has as its basis a variety of population studies, which guide the decision making for school facilities on both a long and short-term basis.

    2. Capital Improvement Program

      1. The Capital Improvement Program is a projection of the school facility needs for the next fiscal year (Capital Budget) and the following five-year period. The Capital Improvement Program will be based on needs to support the educational program of the system with new schools, modernizations, and other construction projects.

      2. The local Capital Improvement Program will serve as the basis for state funding requests through the IAC.

    3. Site Selection

      Procedures for site selection and summarization of site criteria for elementary, middle and high schools are addressed in Policy 6000 Site Selection and Acquisition. As part of the selection process, the Office of School Construction produces studies including site layouts and environmental assessments.

    4. Architect Firm and Construction Manager Selection

      Procedures for architectural and construction management services selection are addressed in Policy 6030 Procurement of Architectural and Construction Management Services.

    5. Facility Planning and Facility Design

      The facility planning and design process allows for orderly and systematic design of school facilities. This process begins with a scope study and will be conducted using either the Board-approved General Educational Specifications for New Elementary Schools, General Educational Specifications for New Howard County Middle Schools, General Educational Specifications for High Schools, or the Board approved Guidelines Manual for Renovations and Modernizations of Existing Schools as the basic references for the facility in question. These documents describe the basic educational philosophy, instructional program, and spatial requirements needed to implement the planning and construction program.

    6. Bid and Award

      The bid and award procedures for school construction projects conform to those used for the procurement of other goods and services, which are addressed in Policy 4050. In addition, these procedures comply with the funding requirements of the PSCP.

    7. Contract and Construction Administration

      The Office of School Construction will be responsible for monitoring construction work and administering the schedule, budget, and change orders that affect the scope and/or cost of the work. A school construction progress report, which includes these topics is submitted monthly to the Board. In accordance with the provisions of Policy 6030, a construction manager may be hired to manage the construction process as well as to collaborate during the feasibility and design phases.

    8. Official Acceptance of Capital Improvement Projects

      Capital improvement projects may be designed to be accepted in stages or upon total completion of work, based on staff recommendation to and approval by the Board.

    9. Post-Acceptance Evaluation

      Use, occupancy, and evaluation by staff may occur only after the project has been officially accepted. The Board will receive a final report following the walk-through.

    10. Relocatable Facilities

      Relocatable classroom units should be considered under the following conditions and within the context of Policy 6010 School Attendance Areas:

      1. Where student population growth occurs

      2. Where utilization is projected to exceed target utilization

      3. When boundary lines are adjusted

      4. Where population is projected to remain above target utilization for at least one year

      5. Where school construction or renovation projects require the provision of swing space to accommodate the student population and minimize the impact on instruction.

        Where excess population is projected to remain beyond four years, consideration should be given to an addition or new construction.

  4. To the extent possible, school facilities and sites should be available for after school use by the community. The possibility of joint use development of school and recreational facilities, including joint construction of school and recreational space, is encouraged on a case-by-case basis.

V. Responsibilities

  1. The Superintendent/designee will oversee the overall administration of the school planning and construction programs.

  2. The Office of School Facilities will assist with design reviews and post-construction maintenance.

  3. The Office of the Environment will review and monitor the design and construction phases related to environmental initiatives and occupational regulatory compliance.

  4. The Office of School Planning and the Office of School Construction will collaborate with all appropriate internal and external parties in order to obtain the efficient implementation of this policy.

  5. For capital improvement projects, the principal will communicate project information to the parents and the community in a timely manner.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop appropriate procedures to implement this policy.

VII. References

  1. Legal

    • The Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article § 4-115 (right to acquire land, school sites or buildings) § 4-116 (land use approval procedures) § 4-117 (construction and remodeling conformance to state and county building codes) § 5-301 (Interagency Commission on School Construction, established) § 5-302 (composition and role of the IAC) § 5-303 (project eligibility and cost-share) § 5-312 (state funding support related to high performance buildings)

    • COMAR 13A.01.02.03 (requirements for obtaining State Superintendent’s approval for school construction projects)

    • COMAR 15.05.02 (regulations pertaining to integrated Pest Management and Notification of Pesticide Use in a Public School Building or on School Grounds)

    • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

    • Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Act (MOSHA)

  2. Other Board Policies

  3. Relevant Data Sources

  4. Other

    • General Educational Specifications for New Elementary Schools

    • General Educational Specifications for New Howard County Middle Schools

    • General Educational Specifications for High Schools

    • Guidelines for the Use of Relocatables

    • Guidelines Manual for Renovations and Modernizations of Existing Schools

    • Safety Guidelines for Renovation and Construction Projects

VIII. History

ADOPTED: September 4, 1968


MODIFIED: August 14, 2014, November 1, 2018

REVISED: September 13, 1990, January 14, 2010

EFFECTIVE: November 1, 2018