Oswego School District 308 has approved the purchase of a transportation facility at a new site rather than build one at the existing location.
The recommendation came from Superintendent Matthew Wendt to purchase a building to house the district’s transportation department—a move that likely will save up to $800,000 what was previously allocated to construct a new transportation facility.
Last year the board allocated $2.7 million to build a new transportation facility on its current site. Vendor bids for the construction of the new facility were requested at twice by the board.
At Monday night’s board meeting the school board voted 7-0 to reject the bids for the transportation facility that were opened earlier in July, due to the fact that all of the bids were over budget.
The budget called for $2,345,068, and the lowest bid presented was $2,468,000.
The district purchased the new, 16,000 square-foot building, located at 55 Stonehill Road in Oswego, for about $1 million, said Executive Director of Administrative Services, John Sparlin.
It is estimated that the facility will require some building improvements and parking upgrades over time, Wendt noted.
“This purchased facility will not only meet the immediate needs of School District 308, but our investment positions the school district to manage long-term student transportation needs well beyond the year 2020. Compared to the original new construction plan and considering anticipated upgrades to the facility, we met these needs with an existing facility right here in Oswego.”
The district’s current transportation service is housed within a 3,300 square-foot temporary trailer unit at 100 Plank Road, just south of the tennis courts at Oswego High School.
In 2003, four mobile units were purchased and installed at the site as a two-to-three year solution to address the district’s growing transportation needs. In 2006, residents passed a building bond referendum, which included plans for a larger transportation facility.
The new facility will help to alleviate traffic congestion around the south parking lot at Oswego High School, addressing a known student safety concern.
The district transportation department maintains a fleet of 118 vehicles and employs approximately 180 staff members, which includes bus drivers, bus monitors, crossing guards, mechanics and office staff. The bus mechanics currently conduct their operations off site, near the intersection of Route 71 and Plainfield Road. The new building will allow the mechanics to join their fellow employees at the new site so all District 308 transportation operations will be housed under one roof.
As for when the new facility will be open and ready for use, Sparlin said that would be determined once newly hired transportation director, Derrick Berlin, begins next week. Berlin will be preparing a timeline to be presented to the board of education in the coming weeks.
The preceding information was provided by Oswego School District 308.