The new Crookston School District Bus Garage was originally planned to be completed by the end of December. However, as many building projects do, the construction ran into delays.
Crookston Superintendent Jeremy Olson said the contractors working on the bus garage had to deal with COVID-19 quarantines and close contact isolations just like everyone else, which slowed down progress. “The delay has basically been caused by worker shortage due to close contacts and so forth by our contractor and subcontractors,” said Olson. “They have not been immune to COVID-19 as we’ve all felt the effects. As a result, work completion just wasn’t where it needed to be. And as anyone who has dealt with construction knows, if one element or subcontractor can’t get everything done and the calendar is affected, it backs up everyone else. Needless to say, it got backed up to the end of January.”
When the bus garage is complete, the district will have a new building to reduce maintenance on the bus fleet. “When you look at the overall maintenance on a vehicle that is stored a little a little above freezing temperatures, the seals and maintenance that goes into the bus is a lot cheaper,” said Olson. “Then, you look at the reliability of (the bus) starting, so we believe this is going to lead to better and more efficient operations. And this is going to be a long-standing building for our district to use for many, many years. Our current facility was coming to an end, whether we liked it or not. We’re really looking forward to that new bus garage.”
The district will also be able to purchase cheaper buses without special ordering low profile lights and other features such as air suspension. Olson said he’s looking forward to having the bus garage committee see the facility all of their hard work helped make a reality. “I’d like to get our bus garage committee together to go through this,” said Olson. “They were so instrumental in the design and planning that went into the bus garage. And advice on what we should and should not do. This committee really worked to try to shave costs and make this a palatable as possible. There was a lot of conversation about how do we do this not only to better the operations of transportation, but how do we do this in a cost-effective manner.