School buses in Waukee, Iowa will soon get a break from the frequent flooding that has affected the greater Des Moines area. The school district received approval from the city council to build a $10 million transportation facility that promises better protection from the elements as well as significant savings on fuel costs.
Construction is set to begin this spring on a 5,000-square-foot building with restrooms, bus driver offices, mechanic bays and a wash bay as well as a 7,200-square-foot building with offices and storage space. The facility will include a fueling station for both city fleet and school district use and a new storm-water retention basin. The school district said it is contributing to the construction cost of the basin but the city will own and maintain it.
“This is really such a win-win situation. We worked with the school district in finding an appropriate location for this facility that will also work for them many years into the future as the City and district continue to grow,” said Brad Deets, director of the city’s Development Services. “Constructing the facility next to Public Works also benefits the city. The location is conveniently located for a majority of the city’s vehicles and will save on fueling costs and increase efficiencies.”
Currently, the Waukee Community School District’s bus fleet is parked more than four miles outside of the city. The location left buses susceptible to recent floods. A district spokeswoman said about a half-dozen school buses required battery and/or alternator replacements after a flood overtook the current bus facility last June 2015. Another flood affected the facility in August, though school was never canceled or delayed as a result of either one.
The district said the new central location and the ability to piggyback on city purchases of bulk fuel could save the district at least $200,000 each year. The city is also expected to save about 8 cents per gallon as part of the bulk purchasing agreement.
"We are really pleased to be able to partner with the city to increase our efficiencies and lower the district's cost for transportation," said Waukee Superintendent Dave Wilkerson. "This facility should also allow us to provide better service to families district wide."
Durham School Services provides contracted transportation services to the district.