By Elizabeth Lanier
After seven months of construction, the Morgan County School System celebrated the opening of the brand new transportation facility with a ribbon cutting last Tuesday, July 18.
“The facility costs $4.1 million to construct, and the transportation center will serve as the hub for maintenance/repairs/fueling of the Morgan County Charter School System School Bus Fleet,” said Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach.
Alicia Lord, Pupil Transportation Manager, opened up the ceremony by explaining how excited they were to have this new facility, “I’m going to borrow some words from my driver Marvin Miller. He said that when they were in their original transportation facility 15 years ago, and they built the facility they just came from, they went from the outhouse to the penthouse. Now he says from that building to this building, we have gone from the penthouse to the Taj Mahal.”
The new facility, however, is not only great for the staff, but traffic patterns as well, according to school leaders. Superintendent James Woodard explained the need of constructing a new bus building away from where the new high school and middle school will be built: “When we decided to build a new high school and middle school, we knew that the location of doing it all on one side would stress us from the standpoint of having the transportation facility right in the middle of that. So what you have today is a first class transportation facility—something that is built with capacity, a building that is built with technology, with training in mind, and making sure we can always get our kids to school safely and get them back home safely. This was a vision of a lot of people and making sure this came together, and I just want to give a big shout out to everyone that was a part of it.”
Woodard also went on to explain that the building will not only act as a headquarters for the bus fleet, but also a center for the county to provide maintenance and repairs. New County Manager, Adam Mestres, explained the importance of the joint use of the space and how it truly displays what this county is all about, “To see the partnerships we have with the board of education, the partnerships we have with all the cities, it’s really nice. It’s refreshing to be in a community that embraces community, that it’s not about the city, it’s not about the Board of Education, it’s not about the Board of Commissioners, it’s about One Morgan.”
District 112 Representative, Dave Belton also emphasized on how the togetherness of the community in Morgan County, “It’s so cool how the county, the city, and the school board in Morgan County get together. Thank you chairmen, thank you commissioners for helping the school board. What a fantastic facility here. I really do believe that the commissioners and board of education members took a lot of vision and courage, but in the long run, it’s going to be a swell and remarkable thing for Morgan County.”
“The completion of the Morgan County Charter School System Transportation Center will serve our school system for many years in the future. The center will allow for the proper upkeep of our bus fleet for the purpose of transporting our students to and from school,” said Woodard.