|County’s new bus barn project approaches federal deadline|
|February 27, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Scotts Bluff County’s new bus barn will need to be completed by the end of March to meet federal funding deadlines – but the project has also met with some controversy.
The barn, located just south of the county roads department headquarters on Rundell Road, will house the county’s Handy Bus vehicles.
More than half the funding for the nearly one million dollar project comes from the federal stimulus program. The remainder is an 80-20 split between the Nebraska Department of Roads and the county.
Carol Prince, Scotts Bluff County Director of Operations, said the barn is 11,000 square feet and will include a wash bay for their 10 Handy Bus vehicles.
Last week, Scotts Bluff County Commissioners requested a meeting with representatives from the project’s architects, Hewgley and Associates.
Originally, the county had planned to make use of a concrete slab the Department of Roads had used as a place to park its vehicles. When that option was eliminated, testing had to be done to see if there was sufficient soil compaction for the building.
“The soil had to be tested and then soil had to be brought in to do the compaction,” Prince said. “The commissioners knew about this before, but the compaction change order ran about $9,500. That’s what they were upset about.”
Prince added the county board was also concerned about how much the building was costing. Without an architect, perhaps the barn could be built in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. But that cost would have been all county money. With federal funding, the county will only pay about $57,000 for the building.
“Because we’re using federal funds, all the materials had to be American made,” Prince said. “The project also has to be sustainable and energy efficient measures have to be included. That adds to the cost of the project and I was shocked at the estimates.”
The county board was also concerned the building is a foot lower in elevation than surrounding structures.
“I was also upset about that,” Prince said. “We’re worried about drainage and water running into the building when we get a heavy rain.”
Hewgley explained to commissioners the drainage would be sufficient. The architect plans additional site work that would move water around the building to a nearby lower street.