Leggett Proposes $1.73 Billion for County School Projects

Leggett Proposes $1.73 Billion for County School Projects

Capital budget update anticipates $308.6 million from state

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Construction at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in the fall. Funding for the work is included in the proposed capital budget.

Douglas Tallman

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett on Tuesday released his proposed capital budget for fiscal 2018, which recommends $1.73 billion for the county school system as well as $332 million for Montgomery College.

In a statement, Leggett said the budget proposal focuses on job creation and business growth, with support for the White Oak Redevelopment and the Rapid Transit System program designed to connect with job centers.

The spending plan amends the six-year 2017-2022 capital budget. Nearly all the projects have been proposed in previous years. The County Council will deliberate on the budget over the next few months. Fiscal 2018 starts July 1.

The budget includes $55.3 million for the South County Regional Recreation and Aquatic Center, to be built as part of the Housing Opportunity Commission’s Elizabeth Square project in Silver Spring, the statement said. Phase I would include construction of an aquatic center that is scheduled to open in late 2019. Phase II would include construction of community and senior recreation centers with a gymnasium and multipurpose activity rooms that are expected to open in late 2021.

Leggett spokesman Patrick Lacefield said this is the first capital budget to include funding for the Elizabeth Square recreation/aquatic center.

According to the website of capital budget projects, the recreation/aquatic center is listed as a new project for the budget.

The money proposed for Montgomery County Public Schools would pay for projects over the six years of the 2017-2022 capital budget, including the construction of four schools, 22 additions, and 11 school renovation/expansions while also investing in other infrastructure needs, according to the statement. To finance the projects, the county is expecting $308.6 million in state assistance over those six years.

The Montgomery College funding would pay for road and parking improvements, the modification of Rockville athletic fields, and the addition of a turf soccer field. The funding would also support continuing construction on the Rockville, Takoma Park, and Germantown campuses. To finance these projects, the county is expecting $93.3 million in state assistance.

“We have to go out and get the state money, but [those numbers are] the working assumption,” Lacefield said.

The school projects include additions to North Bethesda Elementary, Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary in Rockville, Kensington-Parkwood Elementary, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Ashburton Elementary in Bethesda, and Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda.

The White Oak redevelopment would receive $49 million to provide infrastructure to leverage private investment and job growth.

The capital budget also includes:

— $17 million in core infrastructure investments for needed bridge and facility repairs;

— $2 million acceleration in funding for the resurfacing of residential and rural roads; and

— $48.4 million for the proposed County Rapid Transit system, up $31.5 million from last year’s capital budget. The project leverages $10 million in federal grant funding.

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