Private company would maintain, but not design or build, state buildings under governor's plan

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam talks about education and his budget to the editorial board at the Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Higher education and state buildings would be managed by a private company under a plan by Tennessee's governor, but state officials still will call the shots on design and construction.

That's according to State Comptroller Justin Wilson's office, which is reviewing the contract that could put as much as 87 million square feet of publicly owned space under the control of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) management.

In a letter responding to concerns voiced by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, Wilson wrote that JLL is "not authorized to include design and/or construction under ANY contract with the state."

Those decisions rest with the State Building Commission, Wilson stated.

That includes work done in-house or via subcontract, the comptroller said.

Bell told the Times Free Press earlier Thursday that he had been told the work done by architects, engineers and construction firms would not be impacted in Tennesse Gov.