Noblesville Schools has officially opened its long-awaited transportation center, a project that began in July 2016.
District and City of Noblesville officials cut the ribbon on the $10.5 million, 27,000-square-foot facility at 19790 Hague Rd., just next to Noblesville West Middle School on Feb. 23.
The new center replaces the previous 4,000-square-foot facility on Field Drive near Noblesville High School.
“Our former transportation center was built in 1978, when Noblesville Schools served approximately 4,000 students, and couldn’t provide the space we need today to serve over 10,000 students,” Supt. Beth Niedermeyer said. “Our new facility significantly increases capacity, providing room we need for our bus fleet, maintenance bays, office management, meeting space, driver parking and storage.”
The former transportation facility only had the capability of housing two buses at a time in its maintenance bays and had limited room for mechanics to efficiently service buses in need of repairs.
“Whenever you build a project in a school district, it’s a lengthy and complex process. It started in July of ’16 with a public hearing, then construction bids, which were awarded in December 2016, and construction began in January 2017,” Niedermeyer said. “There are always going to be some delays. We had some weather delays. Would you imagine that there would be record rainfall in 2017?”
In addition, hurricanes Irma and Harvey delayed the delivery of construction materials. Soil issues at the site also caused delays.
In January, transportation staff relocated to the Hague Road building, and bus routes have been running from there since school resumed after winter break.
“With almost 200 different routes, our 100-plus buses and drivers travel approximately 1.2 million miles each year, safely transporting 9,300 students a day to 10 school buildings and locations as far away as downtown Indy and Beech Grove,” Niedermeyer said. “The work they do is an important part of supporting students. We’re also proud that our transportation mechanics have had a perfect safety inspection rate for 31 consecutive years.”
District officials said the location was chosen because of its accessibility for bus routes and infrastructure design. As a bonus, the district already owned the land. District officials also have said the location next to West Middle School will help address a parking shortage at the school, particularly during evening events.
The district also worked with the city and Indiana Dept. of Transportation to study traffic impact, incorporate a maximum setback off the road and add landscaping buffers to address any sight or noise concerns from neighbors.
Construction was financed through construction bonds. There were no increased taxes for residents and no referendum dollars spent on the project.
“This transportation center is one of those basic, foundational pieces of all the work that we do,” Niedermeyer said. “If you think about it, the bus drivers, they are the first and the last staff members to have a connection with our students every day. The relationships that they develop are so important.”
BY THE NUMBERS
- 105 Bus drivers
- 33 Bus attendants
- 4 Bus mechanics
- 5 Office staff
- 118 Buses
- 200 Different routes
- 1.2 Million miles traveled annually
- 10 School buildings serviced
- 9,300 Students transported each day
FUN FACT: The transportation center’s team of mechanics have received a perfect, 100 percent pass rate on their state safety inspection for 31 consecutive years.