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School district’s bond program improves school security, infrastructure, athletic facilities, & technology

The client: Birmingham Public Schools

Birmingham Public Schools (BPS) is a top-rated district with over 8,000 students in the area surrounding Birmingham, Mich. Plante Moran Realpoint (PMR), formerly Plante Moran Cresa, has been the district’s owner’s representative since 2015, helping BPS leaders plan and successfully oversee two bond programs totaling $261 million.

2015 Bond Program: “Achievement, Character, Community”

In 2015, community members approved a $66 million bond, to be completed over a five-year period starting in 2016. The funds addressed three key areas: safety and security upgrades, building and site renovations, and technology upgrades. One area of focus was renovating the performing arts centers at the high schools, which included constructing a scene shop and equipping existing theaters with audiovisual system upgrades. The bond also funded the construction of secure vestibule entryways and significant improvements to infrastructure, HVAC systems, and mechanical equipment across the district.

Throughout design and construction, PMR identified cost-saving areas, ensured adherence to project schedules, and provided valuable oversight to coordinate the project teams. With our team’s guidance, the district aligned the scope of its bond projects to fit within the $66 million budget.

2020 Bond Program: “Preserving Purpose, Passion, and Pride”

As a result of the successful 2015 bond program, BPS reengaged PMR again in 2019 to conduct a comprehensive 10-year capital plan across the entire school district and act as the owner’s representative for BPS’s 2020 $195 million bond program, which represented a prioritized portion of the overall capital plan. Three major projects of the bond were renovations to both high schools’ athletic facilities and an addition to one elementary school’s cafeteria. Many schools in the district are receiving much-needed interior and site improvements, new buses, and new technology.

Despite the challenges incurred because of COVID-19 — such as materials shortages, labor shortages, historical inflation, and long lead times — PMR’s collaboration with the district and its financial consultant provided strategic solutions that would accelerate the series of bond sales and keep projects moving forward. PMR continues to advocate for the district and maintain an aggressive timeline, with projected program completion in 2026. 

The benefit: Proactive oversight and risk avoidance

PMR has provided capital program expertise to guide the district during the planning, design, and construction of each bond project across both programs, ensuring the overall scope and goals were, and continue to be, met. Throughout our engagements, PMR kept the district and community informed of all key milestones, and our proactive guidance helped BPS manage the daily project accounting and decision-making tasks.

PMR leveraged our extensive expertise working with K-12 school districts to oversee projects from concept to completion. Does your district have facility, security, and technology needs? Please reach out to us today to see how we can help you plan for and implement a bond program. 

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