Construction Opportunities are More Than Abundant in Texas
Construction firms in Texas have reason to celebrate. It would be hard to point to a time when demand for construction services was higher, and there’s absolutely no doubt demand will increase even more in 2019 and 2020.
The need for construction services, however, raises some concern. Can the demands be met?
Population growth has created immediate needs for more public school buildings, affordable housing, college and university expansions, healthcare clinics and all types of transportation-related projects. City officials, striving to meet renewable energy mandates or receive a “smart city” designation, are reaching out to construction partners. Billions in new federal funding for water-related projects have local government leaders rushing to launch construction projects. Counties are ready for new courthouses, jails, energy-efficient office facilities and road upgrades. Hundreds of Texas communities are still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey. Texas airports, both large and small, have announced plans to expand or launch major upgrade projects over the next few years. And, colleges and universities with social infrastructure needs may be the hottest new growth area statewide for construction services.
The needs are obvious and funding is available. But, questions have been raised – can construction firms in Texas meet the needs? Is there a shortage of skilled construction workers? Can new public safety facilities be built quickly enough and will the available funding for these much-needed projects be enough? If not, are Texas construction firms ready to enter into partnerships with private-sector funding sources?
Construction firms may have difficulty deciding where to focus their pursuit efforts. Here’s a sampling of some upcoming opportunities in a few of the high demand categories.
Houston Community College plans to relocate and expand its Northwest Katy campus. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2021, so construction must begin soon. Texas A&M University has a host of upcoming opportunities, including construction of a new food service facility on its main campus in College Station. The University of Houston-Victoria plans to build a new recreational center. It will likely be located on university land located at the corner of Ben Wilson and Red River streets.
Texas cities have announced construction plans for numerous public safety facilities. El Paso city officials hope to build a new downtown Multipurpose Cultural and Performing Arts Center. A bond election in 2012 approved $473.3 million for quality of life projects and programs in the city and $180 million has been allocated to the new center. A lawsuit related to the location slowed the project’s progress but city officials are proceeding now with plans to select an architect and construction partners.
The City of Galveston wants to renovate its four-story City Hall. This construction project will bring the public building up to life safety and code requirements. It will also increase accessibility and provide for a more efficient work environment for city employees.
A new SWAT vehicle storage facility and police property/evidence room construction project is planned for the City of Fort Worth. The construction will be located at the existing Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex.
Hearne city leaders have approved construction of a new 28,000-square-foot public safety building for police and fire. The City of Jacksonville has initiated a project to replace its current Central Fire and Police Station with a new public safety complex. The design phase should begin this summer with a construction phase also planned for late 2019. Public safety-related projects are also planned for the cities of Kyle, Sugar Land, and Wallis.
Government officials in Kyle initiated a space needs study and are discussing a new police facility that has been estimated to cost in the range of $18 million to $25 million. Sugar Land city officials plan to build a new Emergency Operations Center and the City of Wallis will construct a community swimming pool complex in Mynarik Park.
Texas airports have announced numerous construction projects. A number of smaller airports received federal funding to upgrade facilities and expand runways. Larger airports may elect to enter into construction contracts that provide for a portion of the project to be funded with private-sector capital. The board of the Texarkana Regional Airport Authority is seeking a grant to augment funding for a new $37 million terminal and a few other projects. Construction on the new terminal could begin as early as 2020.
In San Marcos, the school district hopes to construct a new administration building. Plans have been developed to finish this project, which includes a 29,000-square-foot building, over three phases. Costs for the first phase are estimated at $4.5 million.
County officials in Texas also have an abundance of construction opportunities. The Chambers County Commissioners Court approved plans recently for construction of a new criminal justice center and jail complex in Anahuac. The project’s cost is approximately $85 million. The facility will include 240 additional beds, courtrooms, county clerk offices, jury rooms, and more accommodations for female inmates.
Collin County commissioners have initiated a facility analysis designed to recommend how to expand the county’s Adult Detention Center. The objective is to expand the facility’s inmate capacity and redesign and potentially expand the center in other ways as well.
Gregg County will construct a two- or three-story parking garage near the county courthouse. Potter County plans to build a new District Courts Building and construction is projected to begin in the second half of this year.
An estimated $10 to $15 million project in Central Texas is in the planning stages. Once approved, construction on the project will take 16 to 18 months to complete. The Regional Mobility Authority will oversee a project to widen the onramp to southbound MoPac from Bee Cave Road. The construction will build a merging lane so that vehicles are not forced onto MoPac.
The Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District and the City of Round Rock will launch a $25 million project to construct a water/wastewater plant. The two public entities, with the launch of this project, will begin the next stage of constructing flood-prevention infrastructure in neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to flooding.
Construction firms in Texas have reason to celebrate. They are in high demand.