School Building Aid is a program authorized by RSA 198:15-a, through which the State of New Hampshire provides financial assistance to local school districts for the construction or substantial renovation of educational facilities for grades K-12.
Contact the Office of School Building Aid, (603) 271-2037. Review the Manual for Planning and Construction of School Buildings .
Public school districts that have proposed a capital construction project to their legislative bodies should initiate an application for School Building Aid.
1-12 Schools - Jeff Blaney, (603) 271-2037
or Marjorie Schoonmaker, (603) 271-3620
Kindergarten Grant - Marjorie Schoonmaker, (603) 271-3620
Tech Centers - Regina Fiske, (603) 271-3653
The initial application is Form A24P. The form A24P and other required forms may be found at School Building Forms.
Eligible costs are identified in RSA 198:15-b IV. They include the cost of land, planning and design, site development, construction, legal and administrative fees, furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
The cost of land purchased for school construction is eligible for School Building Aid once a project has been approved on that site. The cost of land purchased in the past, but upon which no construction has occurred, may be included in the application for a new project.
Finance charges and interest are not eligible for School Building Aid. Project funds that originate as gifts, donations, insurance claims, bequests, or money from charitable trusts are not eligible. Work that is classified as maintenance or which does not meet the criteria of "substantial renovations" is not eligible.
Projects must be approved by the department prior to the start of construction to be eligible for School Building Aid. Additionally, applications must be received by December 31 each year.
As of January 1 in each year, the department of education shall cause to be computed the amount of the annual grants for school building aid to be paid to eligible school districts in the succeeding fiscal year. The computation shall be based upon the total of eligible costs of construction of school buildings approved by the legislative body of the school district ad the department of education for which loans are out-standing in each school district for the fiscal year in which the computations are made. (RSA 198:15-d)
Architects, banks and others involved in school construction projects often submit documentation directly to the Office of School Building Aid but it is ultimately the responsibility of the SAU to see that complete and accurate documentation is provided.
School Building Aid may be paid at the rate of 40% to school districts that own a building which houses an SAU office. SAU's may not own buildings themselves or receive School Building Aid. School Building Aid may not be paid for SAU offices in commercial leased space or in town owned buildings.
Leases of real property to house regional career and technical centers are eligible for school building aid. Projects intended to improve energy efficiency or indoor air quality that are financed by lease purchase agreements are eligible for school building aid. No other lease agreements are eligible.
Substantial renovations which meet the requirements of ED 321.27 in the NH Code of Administrative Rules are eligible for School Building Aid.
The rates for districts under the alternate formula may change from one year to the next. Once a project is approved, that project will receive the rate in effect at the time the bond was sold for the duration of the bond payment schedule.
The Office of School Building Aid publishes an annual list of the estimated total amount for each district in September of the previous fiscal year. An annual verification statement, known as the Building Project Status Report, is sent to each district for verification prior to April 1st of the preceding fiscal year. It is essential that districts verify the accuracy of these reports and submit corrections as necessary. The Office of School Building AId maintains an internal document known as the Control Card to record scheduled payments for each project. A 20 year projection report is also maintained and used for input to the state budget process.
Each public school district is entitled to a percentage rate of reimbursement between 30% and 60% based on one of two formulas in the RSA.
There are no recurring federal grant programs for school facilities. Occasionally special grants are made available for specific purposes. The Qualified Zone Academy Bond is a federal program which provides bonds at no interest to qualified school districts for renovations and repairs to school buildings.
The department recommends that the contingency budget be at least 5% for new construction projects and 10% for renovation projects. An inadequate amount in contingency may result in a need to reduce the scope of work if unforeseen conditions arise. Authority to expend contingency funds should be closely.
All major construction projects should be overseen by a representative for the owner who has no direct financial investment in the project outcome. The clerk of the works should be onsite on a daily basis to ensure that work is done in accordance with the contract and in the best interest of the owner. Architects and construction managers are responsible for contractor performance, but they also have their own interests to protect are consequently are not able to be completely unbiased.
School departments in cities, except for Concord Claremont, Keene, and Lebanon, are required by RSA 199:3 to form a Joint Building Committee consisting of members appointed in equal numbers by the school board and city council or board of aldermen. Although not required in other districts, building committees are recommended as a good forum to analyze the facility needs of the district and alternative methods to address those needs.
The standards for school construction in New Hampshire are found in Part Ed 321 of the NH Code of Administrative Rules. RSA 198:15-b VII specifies maximum sizes for school buildings for the calculation of School Building Aid. The department annually publishes a maximum allowable cost for the calculation of School Building Aid. Districts may build schools which exceed the size limits or maximum allowable cost; however School Building Aid will be restricted to the size limits and maximum allowable cost.
Building problems should first be brought to the attention of the school principal. Unresolved issues should be referred to the superintendent of schools at the local SAU office. The local fire chief, building inspector, and health officer have jurisdiction over buildings issues within their respective technical areas.
RSA 198:15-b requires that a written maintenance plan be submitted as part of an application for School Building Aid. The plan must include: procedures and staffing for cleaning, grounds, refuse removal, snow removal, minor repairs, pest management and equipment servicing. It must also identify the amount of space for cleaning assigned to a custodian. The schools work order process must also be described. A sample plan is available.
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