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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 11, 2017 01:57 PM
From: Representative Keith Gillespie
To: All House members
Subject: Prototypical School Facility Design Clearinghouse (Former HB 597)
In the near future, I will be reintroducing House Bill 597 to reduce school construction costs. Under this bill, school districts will be required to use these plans in order to receive the regular state reimbursement for a new school construction project. If the district chooses not to do so, it will not receive state reimbursement for a school construction project.

Under certain conditions, the state Department of Education may exempt school districts from participating in the program for a particular project and still provide state subsidies for said project. The school district must prove that a standardized design is not feasible for that particular project due to specific geographic or other limitations of the area, or that the project involves remodeling, rehabilitating or expanding an existing structure.

When the department exempts a school district from using a standardized design for these reasons, it shall provide written notice, sent to the school district, of the exemption. Such notice shall also be made available to the public by the school entity.

This bill directs the state Department of Education to divide Pennsylvania into six regions – northwest, northeast, southeast, southwest, north central and south central. The department shall designate which counties are in which region, grouping counties together based on geographic proximity. The department will then group the designs accepted for the clearinghouse by the six regions listed above, based on energy needs for heating and cooling, building size, average school district population in the region, layout of the building (one story versus multiple stories) and structural requirements due to climatic or geographic difficulties.

Introduced as HB1315