School district transportation and maintenance staff move into new facility

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More than 25 years ago, The Edmonds School District’s maintenance and transportation crews moved into what they thought would be a temporary space, located along Alderwood Mall Boulevard.

Last year, the district commenced construction on a new location for the crews, and $22.3 million later, transportation and maintenance crews moved into the space on Friday, Aug. 5.

“So far, everyone is happy,” Project Manager Nick Chou said.

Little details like translucent garage doors to keep natural light flowing into the bus maintenance area, and enough space for each person to have a desk on level flooring, have staff members smiling at work.

“Monday, I came to work and I just got so emotional,” Transportation Routing and Planning Tech Becky Olds said. Her eyes teared and she smiled. She has been working with the district since 1988. “This is like a palace.”

The new bus maintenance building has nine bus bays and several lifts, so buses with issues or needing maintenance don’t have to wait for work on another bus to finish before work can get started on them.

Structural, mechanical and grounds crews also benefit from the new space. All of those departments are in the same building, but they are all separated into their own areas of the building. Grounds crews now have a covered area for deliveries of rocks, dirt and bark, among other things. A cover is also available for mowers and machinery, which were out in the open in the old building.

Behind the above-ground fuel tanks is a drive-through bus wash. At the old location, buses had to be scrubbed down using brushes, which is difficult in the winter. During the school year, buses are typically washed about once a week. The bus wash reclaims the used water.

Transportation Director Craig Christensen said the new building doesn’t quite feel like home yet, but he is already happy with the change.

“It’s hard to describe. It’s like a breath of fresh air,” he said.

He is looking forward to having a real conference room, which transportation did not have at the old facility. He is also glad with the ample storage space, so he does not have to share his office with employee files.

The staff room is also large enough that he could have a meeting with the entire department if he wanted to, which was not possible in the old building.

“After we moved in here, I thought, how did we function there?” Christensen said.

Below are photos of the old transportation and maintenance facilities, located on Alderwood Mall Boulevard. Once the move to the new building is complete, the district plans to demolish the buildings.

–Story and photos by Natalie Covate

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