Salem board mulls building bus garage

The board would save about $25,000 annually through the plan, the treasurer says.
SALEM -- City school officials aim to save money with a plan to build a bus maintenance and storage center.
The school board may take action at its meeting Monday to hire an architect to design the structure, said Ted Cougras, school treasurer.
"The board's looking, in the long run, to save money," Cougras said.
The district currently keeps its 17-bus fleet at a rented storage facility on Prospect Street.
The district also contracts for maintenance and repair services.
It costs the district about $95,000 annually to house and maintain buses at the private facility, Cougras said
Money: To build its own bus storage and maintenance center would cost an estimated $300,000.
Annual operating expenses for the facility would total about $70,000, which would include the cost of having a district-employed mechanic to oversee the buses, Cougras explained.
Having its own facility could save the district about $25,000 yearly. That means the facility could pay for itself in about 12 years or a little more, he noted.
Features: Being envisioned is a building that would feature bays to wash and maintain buses. The structure also would contain office and storage space. Next to it would be a fenced bus parking lot.
The district is considering building the structure on land it owns near the high school off North Lincoln Avenue.
The district probably would borrow to pay for constructing the building, Cougras said. District funds would be used to pay off the loan.
If all goes as planned, construction on the building will begin this summer and be finished by the end of the year, Cougras said.

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