The agreed upon shared service that would allow the Washington Township School district to put a bus maintenance facility on the land currently housing the Department of Public Works received a positive review from the planning board this week.
The board gave a courtesy review of the site plan at its most recent meeting, with school transportation director Paul Henry and DPW superintendent Scott Frech representing both sides.
The facility would allow the district to bring its bus maintenance, inspections and cleaning in-house, as it currently outsources those needs.
A four-bay, 5,000 square-foot structure has been proposed that would include three full-time mechanics, Frech said.
The facility is expected to cost approximately $750,000 to create, and would save the school district an estimated $115,000 per year.
“The cost is one-third of the original proposed facility,” said Mayor Ken Short, representing the planning board. “This will be a one-stop-shop for fuel, maintenance and cleaning. It’s going to save the taxpayers quite a bit of money.”
The township will erect the building, and the board of education will hold a long-term lease on the property.
As many as eight buses could be at the facility at one time, Henry said, during state inspection cycles. But most of the time only buses needing maintenance or repairs will be on the property, Henry said.
The board asked if the facility would allow for buses from surrounding districts to come in and use the services provided.
Henry said the board has considered that idea, which would help bring in revenue and get maximum value from the facility, but has yet to pursue the effort.
Buses will still be kept in the bus yard at the Board of Education building on West Mill Road.
The board moved to make a positive recommendation to the township committee, which will take the next step in bringing the project to completion.