Yonkers mulls $1.7bn PPP schools programme

The city of Yonkers, New York, recently launched a Request for Proposals for a third-party financial adviser to support the reconstruction and repairs of failing public school buildings. Yonkers is considering a PPP for the $1.7bn initiative.

Public schools in Yonkers, located north of New York City in Westchester County, are in need of a $1.7 billion facelift, prompting the city to recently issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking financial, legal and technical advisory services for a possible public-private partnership (PPP) programme to repair them.

The Yonkers Public School District is comprised of 40 schools that are approximately three-quarters of a century old on average and are in desperate need of interior and exterior repairs on everything from lighting fixtures to roofing and ventilation and heating systems. 

The city is accepting proposals through January 6, 2012 as it seeks to determine “the suitability of a PPP-based delivery approach,” the RFP states. Without a PPP, which has been on the table as a consideration since 2008, the project would unfold in multiple phases over a 15-year period. Across the ocean, Belgium closed a similar schools package last year with its €1.5 billion PPP to refurbish 211 schools. 
The RFP follows the release of a building condition survey and a five-year capital plan issued by the city last year, which spotlights the schools’ most pressing needs.

Unlike other sections of New York, Yonkers is prepared to allow private participation – including PPPs – in its public schools rebuild initiative without further legislative action, as a consequence of a provision in the City Of Yonkers Educational Construction Fund.