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Four Prince George’s middle schools selected to be rebuilt, and two to be constructed, through public-private partnership

Schools chief Monica Goldson supports the public-private model for school construction in Prince George’s. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The school system in Prince George’s County has selected four middle schools that will be rebuilt and two that will be constructed through a public-private partnership known as a P3 model.

The schools that will be rebuilt are Drew-Freeman Middle School, Hyattsville Middle School, Kenmoor Middle School and Walker Mill Middle School.

In addition, new middle schools will be constructed in the Adelphi area and in the southern part of the county, probably in the Fort Washington area, said Christian Rhodes, chief of staff to schools chief Monica E. Goldson.

The school board approved a resolution outlining the new locations in its meeting Thursday night. The Prince George’s school system is the first in the country to use the P3 model to build such a large cohort of its schools.

Leaders say they hope the arrangement will help reduce the county’s $8.5 billion construction backlog by cutting costs and increasing the speed with which schools are built.

Rhodes said exact locations for the new schools will be determined after the private company is selected through the request for proposals process, which he said are likely to begin this winter.

Officials chose the schools based on a 2017 study of conditions in every school in the system, which is the second-largest in the state. Rhodes said that they decided to focus on building one type of school to increase efficiency in terms of construction costs, and that they focused on geographical diversity.

He said that there will be a focus on requiring that minority-owned and local businesses be involved at every stage of the process, which includes designing the building, construction and maintenance.

The private company that the school system selects will design the building and finance its construction; county and state funding, including for payments to the contractor, will kick in once students are in the building. The schools will have to meet the same safety and code regulations as all school system buildings.

The contract will be for 33 years — approximately three years for building and 30 years for the company to handle maintenance.

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