School district transportation facility opens just in time
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District transportation department didn’t have much of a Labor Day weekend.As the clock ticked down to the first day of school, the district didn’t receive a certificate of occupancy for the new transportation facility until Friday afternoon.”Everyone picked up everything off their desk in the old facility and moved over immediately,” said Tom Miller, director of transportation services.Transportation department employees set up the phones Friday night and the computers Saturday. On Labor Day, the movers relocated the rest of the equipment to the new facility.There’s still some unpacking to do, but come Tuesday morning, all district bus drivers left the new facility to pick up students in Truckee and on the North Shore.”It was great. There’s always the little bugs in the system, especially with the move,” said Debbie Linscome, who drives a North Shore route. “But everything went real smooth.”Linscome’s routes were originally based out of North Tahoe High School, where the Lake Tahoe-side school buses were housed. She said having the entire transportation department under one roof should create interaction between Truckee and North Shore drivers.”I’m real excited to have all of us here in one location,” she said. “We’ll all have a chance to get to know each other better.”The new 32,000-square-foot facility, which was supposed to be open in mid-August, cost approximately $7 million.The new Joerger Drive plant houses the district’s entire fleet of buses. The building includes eight bus maintenance bays with centralized parts and storage, a drive-through bus wash with a water reclamation system, and a room that doubles as a lounge and classroom for inservice education.The facility also houses a hazardous materials room, clean room for engine and transmission work and dispatch and administrative offices.The school district board approved $9.5 million of developer fees for the original project in 2001.Initially the facility was supposed include the district’s maintenance, operations and other administrative departments, but the project was truncated when the district ran out of funding.As funds become available, contractors Clarke & Sullivan will begin the second phase of the facility, which will possibly include bus garages, a shelter for all 50 of the district’s buses and 11 additional bays.As for the current state of the project, Miller said the facility should serve the district’s needs for decades to come.”This is built for the future,” Miller said. “This will take us into the next 15, 20, 30 years.”
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