The new transportation facility open house and dedication will be held Tuesday, April 10 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at 94 South Commercial Street. The open house will run from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. with tours being given by members of the transportation department. The dedication will begin at 6 p.m. and will be conducted by the Board of Education. The shop area of the facility has three large work bays, a modern lift, adequate storage space for supplies and equipment, office space, rest rooms and conference room. Two bus ports have room for 30 buses and a large parking area which can be used for additional bus ports as they become necessary. This event comes after much planning, preparation and hard work by the Morgan County School Board, support staff and the associated contractors. This $1.4 million facility is designed to meet the needs of an expanding fleet of buses for many decades to come. Funds for the project came from a federal Qualified School Construction Bond (GSCB). The district was able to secure the funding at a 0 (zero) percent interest rate. The Board made the decision to build after careful consideration and thought. The idea of erecting a new facility had been discussed for several years by the board. The vote to move ahead was spurred by low construction costs and historically low interest rates. The present aging bus garage was rapidly becoming too small and antiquated for the growing needs of the district. The Board understood the risk of building in a down economy, but felt acting in a prudent manner now would save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in the future. Past renovation and new construction projects support this line of thinking. The longer one waits to begin necessary building projects the more likely it becomes that cost will escalate and taxing burdens increase. Labor, steel, and other building material cost will rise when the number of school construction projects increase across the state and nation. It is also a rare event when a district can secure funding at 0% interest rate. This one action alone will save approximately $590,000 in interest alone. The Board also understood that funds generated for capital projects are separate and unique from funds generated for personnel. Generally the two funds do not transfer from one account to the other. The exception to this was a two-year window from the state legislature that allowed reserve capital money to be expended for employee salaries and benefits. This exemption will expire at the end of the 2011-12 school year and it can no longer be used for the support of the General Fund account which includes payroll and benefits for workers. In other words, regardless of the struggles the General Fund account may experience in a down economy, capital funds for building could no longer help support the district workforce and must be focused on maintaining buildings and the construction of new buildings such as the transportation facility. Please plan to stop in for a visit during the open house and dedication. It will also give you an opportunity to shake the hands and give words of thanks to members of our transportation department including the bus drivers and supervisor. This is a wonderful facility that will lend itself to the education of our children for decades to come. It is a positive addition to the Morgan County School District buildings and grounds. Thank you for your support.
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