The Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education had a high turn-out at its special meeting Jan. 2 to discuss options facing construction of a new transportation center.
The existing bus garage and transportation office was built 60 years ago in 1951. It is located near Wellwood Middle School on South Manlius Street in the village of Fayetteville. Due to numerous structural, space and safety concerns, the district wants to rebuild the facility.
About 150 residents turned out against the idea of building a new center on district-owned property on rural Broadfield Road in the town of Manlius, one of 10 concepts that have been considered. However, at the start of the meeting, residents, and the BOE, heard for the first time the results of a traffic study the BOE had requested for the proposed site. The study, conducted by Clough Harbour, concluded the site is not ideal for a bus garage due to heavy traffic, speed, inadequate site distance and narrow road width. The findings met with applause.
"The road is treacherous," said Manlius resident David McDonough.
Board member Lisa Izant explained why Broadfield was initially on the table.
"We wanted to see if we could get the bus garage out of the village," she said, noting there were only eight buses when the garage was first built; now there's a fleet of 66. "We thought if we could get it on property we already owned, it would work, but the site distance is the major problem.
"It [is] a district-owned property," she added. "But it was not our first choice."
The district administration instead is recommending a new and expanded $3 million bus garage to be constructed on the existing site. Two tennis courts may be torn down for additional parking, said Mike Vespi, assistant superintendent for business services.
The new bus garage/transportation office is part of a $10.5 million referendum to go before voters in March. Because voters approved a capital reserve fund last May, Vespi said there is money set aside, and there would be no tax impact on residents.
The project also includes locker and elevator replacement at Eagle Hill Middle School; a full fire alarm system replacement at Wellwood Middle School; an HVAC replacement, casework and flooring replacement at Fayetteville Elementary School; and interior door and frame replacements at the high school, as well as field drainage, irrigation and sod replacement.
The board of education is scheduled to approve the project to go to referendum at its next meeting on Monday Jan. 10 at Eagle Hill Middle School.