COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Members of the Centreville Public Schools Board of Education and representatives from TowerPinkster get ready to cut the ceremonial ribbon on the school district’s new bus garage during a ceremony Monday. The 5,000-foot facility, which cost around $800,000 of bond funds, includes new high-efficiency lighting, heating, an air compressor and storage space, replacing an old blue building located on the same spot that was used for nearly 70 years.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - A look at the new Centreville Public Schools bus garage.

Centreville schools unveil new bus garage

CENTREVILLE — After decades of using an old blue building as its bus garage, Centreville Public Schools unveiled its brand-new garage at a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday.

The new 5,000 square foot facility located across from Centreville Junior/Senior High School was built as part of Phase 3 of the district’s 2014 bond project, and cost around $800,000 in bond funds. It replaces the old building located in the same spot that research by Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer found was used since the 1950s.

“If you remember, there used to be a big, blue building across the parking lot there, so I set out to do a little research on the history on that, and the original bus garage was built in the early 1950s, and so it served our community for 70 years,” Lemmer said during the ceremony. “It’s truly a testament to our community and our ability to get the most out of our facilities, but it was definitely time.”

Lemmer added that because the old garage was built after World War II, it was built as a way for local veterans to get trade skills before rejoining the workforce following the war.

The new three-bay garage has what Lemmer called “major upgrades” from their old building, including high-efficiency lighting, heating, an air compressor and storage space. It will also allow more room for bus drivers to wash buses both outdoors and indoors, something Centreville Transportation Director Ceairra Green said has already helped drivers.

“Drivers are super happy to wash buses inside, which is new. We didn't get that at the old garage. We're all fighting over who gets to park inside and who gets to park outside,” Green said, adding the new garage is about twice the size as the old one. “The buses fit in here nicer and easier, too. There's just more room for everybody and everything.”

In an interview following the ceremony, Lemmer said planning for the bus garage started in the fall of 2020, with the goal of replacing the old garage. She called the old garage an “eyesore” and pointed out the flaws with the old building.

“It was the first thing you saw when you pulled up, and it had some spots that were crumbling,” Lemmer said. “You could see in some parts from the inside to the outside of the building.”

Financially, Lemmer said there could potentially be money coming back from the project in the form of contingency money the district didn’t end up needing to use. The superintendent was also excited about the bus drivers’ reactions to the new garage.

“They've been shuffled around to different spaces over the last year and a half, so having a spot to call home is great,” Lemmer said.

Green agreed, saying bus drivers have been happy to have the new building so far.

“Drivers are happy, and we're happy to have an office and have a home base,” Green said.

Lemmer, during her speech, thanked the taxpayers of Centreville for their help in getting the bond passed, which allowed the district to get the work done.

“We couldn’t do it without taxpayers who are willing to support our local schools and the improvements we need, and an amazingly supportive board of education that understands the importance of having adequate facilities for operating our district,” Lemmer said.

Lemmer said she is excited about the new “state of the art” garage, and how it will help the district moving forward.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all that this new building can do,” Lemmer said.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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