Assembly expected to OK capital budget with $3.5 million for fields at Annapolis, South River high schools

The General Assembly is expected to approve a capital budget for fiscal 2015 that will send $3.5 million to two Anne Arundel County high schools for turf field projects.

The Senate on Saturday voted 44-3 to approve Senate Bill 171 after differences between versions passed in the House and Senate were worked out by a conference committee. The House is expected to approve the committee's report later in the day.

The conference committee report includes $2.2 million for athletic facility improvements at Annapolis High School and $1.3 million for the same at South River High School.

The allocation comes after the Senate passed a capital budget in March without any money for the schools. The Senate stripped funds proposed in Gov. Martin O'Malley's fiscal 2015 proposal, which allocated $700,000 for each of the projects.

But the House, led by Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis, countered the Senate's move by allocating $3.5 million for the two schools. The conference committee agreed with the House, only changing the House's proposal by shifting $50,000 from Annapolis to South River.

The conference committee's capital budget will also send millions to an array of projects in and around Anne Arundel County, if it is approved by the House. The grants include:

  • $1 million for Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, which is in the midst of a $15 million renovation.
  • $1 million for Hospice of the Chesapeake.
  • $1 million for the National Cryptologic Museum, the National Security Agency-run museum that is expanding from 8,000 to 20,000-square-feet at Fort George G. Meade.
  • $1 million for the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Domestic Violence Shelter.
  • $500,000 for Anne Arundel Medical Center.
  • $3.5 million for the Nonpublic Aging Schools program, which sends money to private schools across the state.

The House is expected to take up the capital budget during an afternoon session on Saturday.