Federal Way Public Schools, located south of Seattle, showed off its portion of a $44 million state-of-the-art facility while it hosted this year’s America’s Best School Bus Inspector and Technician Skills and Training Competition.
Other hosts of the event were the Washington Association for Pupil Transportation and truck and commercial vehicle parts manufacturer Paccar.
The district, which buses about 14,000 students each day on 110 routes, welcomed 31 participants from 19 states. They attended training workshops and conducted maintenance and safety inspections.
The facility, completed in 2011 and is shared by maintenance and operations, food services and school supplies, is a result of a total $149 million tax levy passed in 2007. Debra Stenberg, director of communications for Federal Way, said the levy built five schools and two major district facilities besides the building that houses transportation, maintenance and nutrition services. She added that voter approval also triggered around $20 million in state match funds that were used to complete a long list of deferred maintenance projects across the district.
"Transportation was expected to cost $15 million, but the economy allowed us to build nearly all projects on the list under what was budgeted," she explained.
The complex consists of 62,446 square feet of total building space, including a 14,068 square-foot bus repair garage, a 11,241 square-foot maintenance facility, a 11,265 square-foot maintenance warehouse; gasoline and diesel fueling stations, bus and vehicle wash and more.
The latter uses rainwater captured in several 11,000-gallon tanks. After the water is used to wash vehicles, it is drained into underground filters that remove oil, dirt and other contaminants. The water is then recycled. The maintenance shop also features computerized tanks that fill brake and wiper fluid, and old oil is stored and resold at profit.
The complex also houses 25,892 square feet of storage, offices for routing, dispatch and payroll, and technical classrooms for bus technicians and other employees.