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03/15/2012

Merging Office of State Architect, School Facilities Commission proposed by governor

Legislation to be introduced next week

The Office of the State Architect will be merged with the Ohio School Facilities Commission if Governor John Kasich gets his way.

The merger is one of dozens of proposals included in a management efficiency plan unveiled by the governor Wednesday as part of his massive "mid-biennium  review" of the state budget.

"Merging the State Architect’s Office with the School Facilities Commission into a new Facilities Construction Commission will reduce costs and align related authority and resources within a single, responsive commission with oversight responsibility for all state non-transportation construction," according to the Management Efficiency plan.

The actual bill containing all the changes Kasich is seeking is not expected to be introduced until next week, so few specifics of the proposed merger are available.  Representatives of ACEC Ohio have been invited to meet with state officials next week to review the plan in detail.

The State Architect’s Office was established in 1921 to administer the design and construction of facilities for state agencies, boards, commissions and institutions of higher education.  Over the years, the Ohio General Assembly has given state agencies and universities more and more authority to administer their own capital projects, which has diminished the role of the SAO.

In 1997, the state embarked on a major effort to upgrade local schools throughout Ohio.  Rather than giving the responsibility to the SAO, the General Assembly elected to create a new entity, the Ohio School Facilities Commission, to administer the public school construction program.

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