Graham Local School officials plan to invest more than $600,000 in a new transportation and maintenance facility.
The district purchased the Faulkner Lumberyard at 9915 U.S. Route 36 last year for about $336,000 and are in the process of selling its current transportation facility to the village of St. Paris.
Officials purchased the property with funds remaining from the local share of the $20 million renovation of the high school and the construction of a new elementary school that was paid for through the Ohio School Facilities Commission.
Graham board President Steve Setty said the new transportation facility is in an ideal location for the district near the elementary and middle school and can be modified within the district’s budget.
“It was kind of the right time, right place for us,” Setty said.
Graham Transportation Director Don Burley said the district is currently renovating the new facility, which provides more space for storage and is more secure than the current transportation facility at the former junior high school, 370 E. Main St.
“…Now all the buses will be under lock and key, behind a gate and a little more secure for our transportation equipment,” Burley said.
Burley said the district hopes to move onto the property July 1.
The district has 32 buses, including spare buses, maintenance equipment, plows, trucks and trailers.
A dump trailer was stolen from the current site in the fall, but Burley said he hopes the new location will keep the district’s fleet more secure.
The property has two buildings on it, including an old showroom building, which will be used for transportation storage, and a large pole barn in the back that will be used for maintenance storage.
Burley also said because the new transportation facility is located on the east side of the railroad tracks along with the schools in the area, it could help reduce some traffic congestion along U.S. Route 36 caused when buses have to stop at the railroad tracks and follow safety procedures.
“We’re really excited about this and things are coming together. It’s been a very positive thing for Graham,” Burley said.
After the move, Burley said the village of St. Paris will then purchase the former junior high school property for $15,000.
Burley said the district looked into constructing a new facility, but the project was too costly and would have required the district used general funds.
“This is allowing us to not have to currently use any general fund money to do that,” Burley said.
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