Galion Opens New Bus Garage

January 22, 2020

After a year and a half of construction, the bus garage has finally been completed. Before its completion, the buses and maintenance facility were housed on the other side of town.

“The goal for years has been to eventually have a bus garage on campus because having a bus on the other side of town isn’t feasible. My best guesstimate is that we travel over 25,000 miles a year without anyone on the bus, back and forth across our town, hundreds and hundreds of trips multiplied by the number of drivers we have. We also waste upwards of 6-8 hours a day in maintenance staff going back and forth across town, loading and unloading equipment for mowing season or snow season. We have an issue of bringing equipment back and forth across town because there is no place on campus to store it,” Superintendent Jim Grubbs said.

Another reason for the construction of the bus garage on campus was for the safety and security of students.

“Having our buses on campus is huge if we ever have to evacuate the campus. Our buses were on the other side of town, and by the time I got drivers there to get their buses and brought them over here, we have wasted a lot of time. On campus, we can get those buses to the school buildings in seconds instead of in minutes. So, I think that’s huge and very important to have your buses on campus,” Grubbs continued.

The bus garage features four bays—two bays for the mechanics to work on buses, one bay for washing them, and one bay for the maintenance staff. There is a quote used by bus drivers, and it is that buses don’t wear out, they rust out in Ohio. The indoor wash bay will allow for the buses to be washed throughout the winter and hopefully prolong their life.

Sherri McMullenn, the new transportation supervisor, said that she is excited that the new bus garage is on campus, much like everyone else is because it makes things easier and does help with safety.

Freddie Beachy, who does maintenance work, said that he is excited about not having to load and unload a trailer with equipment for snow removal, and having tools close to campus when they are needed instead of driving across town to get them.

Trevor Tallman, a bus mechanic, said that he likes that there is a separate wash bay, and that the bus garage is a wonderful addition to campus.

Thelma Huntsman, a bus driver, said that the bus garage is a bright and cheery place to start the day, and loves that there is a checkered orange and blue floor and that there are finally separate bathrooms for men and women—fellow bus driver Roxann Ramsey agreed that having separate bathrooms is a big plus.

When the project went out to bid, there was one thing in particular that the board knew they wanted, and that was to keep local people working. The architect for the project was MKC Associates Inc. and they used to be based locally, but now work out of the Columbus area. The contractors for the project were the Weithman brothers from Weithman Brothers Inc. and they got as many local subcontractors as they could for the project.

“Weithman Brothers appreciates the opportunity to work with the school district. It was a pleasure to work with Jim Grubbs through the process. We are glad to be a part of the building team and we did work hard to try and keep a lot of local help here. This was a successful project that we were glad to be a part of,” said Ray Weithman.

Greg Lonergan, who was the architect from MKC Associates Inc., said that he originally met with Jim to see what some of the wants and needs were for the bus garage, in order to help make it what was being envisioned. “For a bus garage, it is really nice,” Lonergan said.

To finish up, Grubbs started to thank people, starting with the board of education, “I want to thank the school board who agreed to purchase the land and then agreed to allow us to construct a bus garage, and I also want to thank city council, the law director, and the mayor because it took a lot of work with them to be able to rezone our property due to various zone limitations that prevented us from doing things, and they worked to get it done. I want I thank my treasurer for seeking out funding in a unique way to get the financing without going to any public person to ask for money in the way of levies.”

Grubbs also thanked Sherri McMullen, the school’s new transportation supervisor. Up until she accepted that position, Jim was attempting to do 2 jobs all year, aside from 3 or 4 weeks when someone else filled that position, but left due to a job offer much closer to his home. He also thanked his administration for stepping up to help when he was torn between the demands and obligations of being both the superintendent and transportation supervisor.

The staff in the bus garage look forward to being able to work on campus and not having to drive across town anymore.

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