State officials yesterday approved $42 million to fund 60 school construction and renovation projects throughout Maryland, part of one of the largest budgets since the 1970s.
The Board of Public Works earmarked the money for public school projects in Baltimore and 14 counties, including Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard.
The money brings the school construction budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to $87 million.
The governor put $60 million for school construction into his proposed budget and the legislature, citing a backlog in needs, added $20 million to that. Another $7 million came from surplus funds.
The board approved part of the spending in January.
"These funds will enable us to address the needs of the highest priority school construction projects throughout the state, and help create new jobs through construction," said Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
The $3.8 million approved yesterday for five projects in Baltimore includes $1.6 million for window replacement at City College and $1.3 million for Graceland Park/O'Donnell Heights Elementary School to improve the roof, windows and electrical and plumbing systems.
Baltimore County received $2.1 million,including $1.3 million for the renovation of Lutherville Elementary School, scheduled to reopen in September. The total cost of that project will be about $3.7 million. The county will get $506,000 for a new roof at Dumbarton Middle School and more than $350,000 for heating and air-conditioning equipment at General Stricker Middle School, Sparrows Point Middle and High schools and Pine Grove Elementary School.
"I came away a happy person," said James Kraft, capital planning manager for Baltimore County schools.
Montgomery County was the big winner,picking up $15 million.
Howard County got the next highest amount: $6.5 million. That includes $4 million for a new high school and $2.5 million for a new middle school.
Anne Arundel County received $3.2 million,including $1.6 million for construction at the Solley Elementary School.
Jurisdictions had asked for about $200 million for school construction.
The budget approved for next year is the second-biggest school construction budget since 1976, when the legislature approved $160 million.
In 1990, lawmakers voted $88 million for school construction.
The entire $87 million building program will provide funding for 36 construction or renovation projects as well as 654 systemic renovations -- such as roofs and boilers.
Sidney Kramer, chairman of the Governor's Commission on School Construction, said recently the state should be spending more than $100 million for construction.
"Sid is right," Mr. Schaefer said yesterday, but there is stiff competition for state funding. "There are other needs in the state too."