Nation Needs New Schools to Meet Increasing Enrollment

School construction and renovation projects haven't been able to keep pace with public school enrollment, which increased 20% from 1985 to 2001, according to FMI Corp., a Raleigh, N.C.-based management consulting firm. Most existing schools were built in the ‘50s and weren't designed to meet today's technological needs. According to a National Center for Education Statistics report titled, “Modernizing Our Schools: What Will It Cost?,” rebuilding or repairing school infrastructure could cost $268.2 billion and take until 2010. The next-generation schools will be wired for Internet and intranet connectivity and include standard amenities like air conditioning, recreation facilities, and theaters.

200 Courthouses Are in Need of Repairs and Renovation

With more than a quarter of existing courthouses in need of expansion and repairs, the General Services Administration (GSA) is proposing a construction program that could create $8 billion worth of work over the next decade. The GSA has requested $556.6 million to pay for the construction and acquisition of facilities for 2003. Almost half of that budget will go toward finishing projects that are already approved, and $69 million will be used for nine new projects. If the federal program for courthouse construction is requesting $500 million to $600 million a year for the next decade, the federal needs could be reflected at the state and county levels nationwide. Therefore, it could cost as much as $1 billion a year to build and renovate both small and large courthouses.

Pending War Boosts Military Spending

Rising military needs created by the war on terrorism could lead to a 7.5% to 8% increase in construction of military facilities over the next five years. The $10 billion Department of Defense Military Construction and Family Housing Program includes more than 400 major projects at about 230 sites. The program includes $4.1 billion for construction of new military family housing, $500 million for planning and design, $500 million for environmental compliance and mitigation, and nearly $5 billion for unspecified infrastructure and miscellaneous construction. Increases in the construction of military facilities are expected to continue through 2007, with an estimated value put-in-place of $3.58 billion in that year.