Canada and the U.S. work together in so many areas – border cooperation, climate change and energy, global security, and trade and prosperity, to name but a few. But beyond the high-profile issues which grab most of the headlines – especially in the era of COVID19 – are examples of collaboration which are helping to secure our collective futures through investments in infrastructure and education.
Earlier this year, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) announced that Fengate, a Canadian investment company which focuses on infrastructure and real estate, would lead a consortium which will design, build, finance and maintain six public schools in the county, located in suburban Washington, D.C. The consortium also features Canadian global design firm Stantec.
PGCPS operates the second-largest school system in Maryland, and has the second-oldest buildings in the state. More than half of the 208 schools are over 50 years old. As such, the initiative is especially significant, as the jurisdiction will be the first in the country to partner with private sector for multi-school construction, with the outcome being new schools built faster, delivery times cut in half, and overall lower construction costs and preventative maintenance. The new schools will eventually be home to around 8,000 students when the initiative is fully completed by July 2023.
The Fengate-led consortium – named Prince George’s County Education & Community Partners (PGCECP) – also announced along with PGCPS a $1 million fund which will support scholarships, student internships, mentoring opportunities and apprenticeships valued at $4.7 million. The consortium will also prioritize procurement from minority-owned and community-based small businesses throughout the construction process.
“It is vital that we continuously invest in our students’ future and today’s announcement will allow us to do just that,” Dr. Monica Goldson, Chief Executive Officer of PGCPS, said on the day of the announcement. “We cannot afford to wait another 10 years to provide our students, teachers and communities with new state-of-the-art facilities. I look forward to working with Prince George’s County Education & Community Partners to complete an investment that is long overdue.”
Fengate has offices in Toronto and Oakville, Ontario, and in Houston, and over 45 years of experience as one of the most active real asset investors in Canada and the U.S. “We are honored to partner with PGCPS to deliver this much-needed infrastructure for Prince George’s County and its students, and we are committed to ensuring the benefits of this project extend beyond the buildings, in support of student development and community businesses through the endowment fund and work and training opportunities,” said Mac Bell, Managing Director, Infrastructure Investments for Fengate.
Stantec, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, is the designer and architect of record as part of PGCECP consortium. “Building on our previous success delivering P3 schools in Canada, our education designers bring value le experience as our consortium embarks on the first of its kind in the U.S.” said Laura Sachtleben, education sector leader for Stantec. “We are designing a middle school prototype that meets all of the county’s needs and can be adapted to each school site, as well as a K-8 school. This approach will reduce the schedule and budget while providing state-of-the-art learning environments and facilities tailored to each unique community.”
Canada is a known global leader in public private partnership (P3) infrastructure development. With over 290 active projects valued at approximately $139 billion, the Canadian P3 process has become a model to emulate for emerging and advancing P3 markets. Canadian firms are sought-after around the world for their capacity-building, as well as consulting and advisory services. They have developed proven capabilities across the P3 project lifecycle, from deal structuring and procurement to project development and execution. Canadian firms have market-proven capabilities in delivering P3 projects efficiently and effectively, and in advising the public sector on deal structuring and procurement.