LOWELL | The Tri-Creek School Board moved forward Thursday with plans for an estimated $3.3 million transportation center to be built next to Lowell Middle School.
Scott Cherry, of The Skillman Corp., said the plan is to accept bids in April, begin construction in May and complete the project by December.
"There's not a lot out there right now, so it's a great time to bid this project," Cherry told the board.
The board is hoping to include some alternates to the basic design if bid prices are low enough.
Jeff Olsen, of CSO Architects, said items such as an enclosed bus wash, larger bay sizes and a mezzanine for storage will be bid as alternates so the board can see the cost of each.
Assistant Superintendent Nathan Kleefisch said the new building would replace the existing 41-year-old bus facility at Lowell High School. He said it's wise to consider a new building rather than invest more into the current facility, which has limited space.
The current location results in traffic backups in the morning and afternoon, when school lets out and buses are on the move. Kleefisch said there have been many crashes, and he has been talking with the town and its police department about the issue for a long time.
While no one attended the state-required hearing Thursday, financial consultant Rod Wilson, of City Securities, said tax bills will not go up as a result of the project.
"You should see a decrease, actually," he said.
Wilson said the school corporation will be paying off debt from other projects, which will more than offset the debt for the transportation center.
The pre-engineered building is expected to cost an estimated $2.7 million, including $500,000 in alternates. There will be additional costs for professional services and financing, Wilson said. The project is expected to cost a total of $3.5 million, he said.