months from RFP issuance to financial close, one of the fastest P3 procurements in U.S. history


successful DBfOM P3 courthouse procurement in the U.S.


awards included Gold for “Best Social Infrastructure Project” and “Best Financial Structure,” and Silver for “Government Agency of the Year”

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Howard County’s Circuit Courthouse needed an upgrade

Officials in Howard County knew the circuit courthouse needed an upgrade. A renovation in 1983 had created an overcrowded, fragmented complex that hindered efficiency. When an additional judgeship was authorized to handle a growing caseload, leaders decided it was time to give employees more space, security and technology to perform at their best.

Unlocking construction funds with a hybrid P3

Unsure whether to renovate or construct a new complex, the county partnered with Arcadis to act as project manager and develop master plan options for each. After weighing the costs, officials opted for new construction. But when funding constraints kept the county from issuing the bonds necessary to fully cover expenses, it sought a more cost-effective public-private partnership (P3) option.

Arcadians met with the county team partners and analyzed alternatives on behalf of the county. They provided technical and operation and maintenance requirements for the solicitation, developed the contract, and performed technical reviews of proposals received. To unlock the funding needed, the ultimate P3 procurement structure took an innovative approach not often used for courthouses.

The team applied a hybrid P3 model called a design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBfOM) delivery method, where a project company finances construction and Howard County makes a milestone payment at occupancy to repay short-term construction costs. Then, the project company operates and maintains the facility for 30 years, receiving an availability payment from the county.

Finding success with the DBfOM model

This complex deal was the first successful DBfOM P3 courthouse procurement in nearly a decade, a landmark achievement for public buildings in the P3 space. More importantly, the design plans – supplied by Arcadians fulfilling Owner’s Representative duties – will upgrade the workplace experience for the people managing Howard County’s docket.

Construction is underway, with our experts guiding the county through the build phase. When the courthouse opens in 2021, it will be a state-of-the-art home for managing important criminal, civil and family law cases.

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