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F-M Transportation Department to temporarily move to Route 5

— In May a committee began reviewing potential temporary sites to house the transportation department during the construction and renovation project on West Franklin Street. It identified seven locations as primary candidates, including East Syracuse-Minoa School District facilities; the former Lincoln dealership on Route 92 in Manlius; the former Chevy dealership on Route 5 in Fayetteville; F-M’s Instructional Communications Center building on Pride Lane; Former Ames department store on Route 5 in Chittenango; O’Brien & Gere facility on Route 5 in Fayetteville; and property on Thermold Drive in Manlius.

It was challenging to find an adequate facility to house the district’s transportation department, said F-M Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Michael Vespi. The temporary facility needs to have adequate parking for the 64 vehicles in the district’s fleet as well as the personal vehicles of the department’s 80 employees. It also must be able to accommodate the unique needs of the department, such as access to fuel and door openings large enough to accommodate the district’s school buses.

Other factors the committee considered when reviewing locations included the cost, neighborhood concerns, traffic, bus routes and security of the buses.

“Every facility we looked at posed some challenge, either for the district or the community,” Vespi said. “There is no perfect space to temporarily house the department; however, we feel the best choice with the least number of challenges is the O’Brien & Gere facility.”

The lease for a portion of the O’Brien & Gere property at 555 E. Genesee St. is still being reviewed. The district budgeted $125,000 for temporary moving and storage related to the project, and there is about $60,000 in reserve funds that could be used if needed. On March 1, district residents approved a $10.5 million capital project proposal that includes work at four school buildings, the Transportation Office Building and the district bus garage.

The projects will require no new tax dollars. State building aid will pay for 81.2 percent of the costs, and the remainder will come from the district’s capital reserve fund.

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