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Transportation office no longer insured

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Clay Community School Corporation's Transportion office personnel have been working out of this trailer recently because the bus garage office facility is no longer insured. The trailer is located in the bus garage's parking lot. Kimberly Gleason Photo. [Order this photo]
Clay Community School Transportation Director Frank Misner had some unhappy news come out of his garage at the Clay Community School Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.

"Indiana Insurance indicated last spring their concern with the transportation building. At that time, they still insured our building," Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "They came back this year and said they will not insure it liability wise, unless a structural engineer looked it over. The engineer said it had less than a year of useful life. The report was then submitted to Indiana Insurance and their response is they will not insure the contents or the building any longer."

The engineers' report suggested the old creamery building, which houses the transportation office and storage facilities for maintenance supplies, is buckling and is unsafe for future long-term use.

Schroeder recommended the school board declare an emergency for the purpose of using emergency Capital Project Funds so that facilities can be leased and alternate plans can be drawn up as to the current situation, the board voted 7-0 in favor of the emergency action.

The bus hut, where the repairs and maintenance are done on school buses, is insured.

To provide office space for Misner and his workers, the corporation is leasing a trailer.

"There was no plan whatsoever of discussing this," Schroeder said. "But now, because we can't have the building insured and a structural engineer says we shouldn't be inside of it, it is time to bring this discussion back to the forefront. We need room for maintenance and the complex."

As discussion commenced on the relative comparison put together by Tom Neff of Schmidt Associates, which is based off of another design similar in size in Tipton Community Schools to the current transportation building. The Tipton building was bid upon two weeks ago for $2 million.

"It isn't a building design, or anything specific, but taking the building costs and the bid amounts which were dramatically under projection and this is a good comparison," Neff said.

He said the estimate included the removal of other buildings on the location, compaction of soil, preparation of the location, grading and drainage. The location would be at the coal sight, which is next to the current transportation hub. The advantages would be the fueling station, communication lines and the location within the district.

"These are just projected costs, set up as a ball park estimation," Neff said. "The sight has to be set up to meet all the Indiana Department of Environmental standards. The costs may seem high. You are going to ask yourself and other people will ask you if it should be cheaper to do it locally? The problem is that when bond proceeds are used the wage scale waiver comes into play."

"I'm not here to sell you a bus garage, I'm only here to give you a comparison," he added at the end of the proposal

Building and Grounds Director Tom Reberger and Misner spoke to the board.

"These are hard numbers," Reberger said. "They just bid this other project two weeks ago. So they know what they are talking about. The problem with a commercial facility, you can't put up a poll barn, these have to be OSHA approved structures with EPA regulations. We can be shut down if we do not meet these codes."

Misner was honest about the current situation to the board.

"Unfortunately, we are a corporation that doesn't have a lot of money. We could do this cheaper, but to meet regulations, we have to play by the rules," Misner said.

"We have needed a new garage since I started, and we had this planned in the building project and it was taken out. Now we have a building that is functionally obsolete and we don't have a choice anymore."

Board member Forrest Buell asked Misner if driver owned busses would be cheaper for the corporation.

"When dealing with driver owned busses, it isn't cheaper, and to be honest you are dealing with a third party and not the person that lives down the road that you go to church with. The driver's care about the children and a third party person wouldn't care about them the way these drivers do. If a parent has a problem they can call me and we can fix it," Misner replied. "In the Indianapolis, area they are dealing with the problems of a third party and are having a lot of problems."

Board members agreed the bus garage does an awesome job with nothing and something needs to be done.

Misner and Reberger were encouraged to look into the matter and have a list of the essentials that would be needed in a new building.

The board also encouraged Reberger to look into leasing a building with the possibility of buying. Because of building renovation project at the elementary schools the furniture and equipment as well as the equipment housed in the old creamery building no longer has a central location. Currently vacant rooms in the corporation are being used for storage but they will not be assessable once the project starts.

Board members gave approval for a special meeting to be called if Reberger needs to talk to the board.

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The school corporation said, "The problem with a commercial facility, you can't put up a poll barn, these have to be OSHA approved structures with EPA regulations. We can be shut down if we do not meet these codes." So what are these codes? Mr. Reberger, as you have so much time with the school corporation, do not stand and say "the codes"; produce the codes. Or is it like last fall when you told the public that CPF funds are not to be used for construction?

What happened to duplicating the Romas Trucking building for $800,000? How doesn't a commercial trucking facility built in Indiana not meet OSHA and EPA codes?

Methinks the school board didn't bother to check the facts before voting. Our school administrators appear to be very good at manipulating the board to get what they want. A cost-effective high-quality education will never be possible in this corporation until the time comes when people on the school board start questioning the recommendations that come out of the Central Office.

On this issue, someone needs to prove that we cannot provide what we need before we spend $2 million out of our CPF. Saying it doesn't prove it. Copying what has been done elsewhere without actually looking at it is how you can spend money you don't need to spend.

Was this in the works since the building plan was changed? I wonder........let's take it out, then declare an emergency and do it anyway...

-- Posted by FlyinLion on Sat, Dec 13, 2008, at 7:28 PM

Leo... do you truly believe that the School Corporation conspired with Indiana Insurance to set up this scenario?? That this was a set up from the beginning?

Your Quote..

"Was this in the works since the building plan was changed? I wonder.....let's take it out, then declare an emergency and do it anyway"

I do not claim to be an "expert" on matters concerning our school system. All I know is that the Transportation people work under conditions that are appalling. The working conditions they put up with would shame most honorable people.

Yet year after year they, along with a lot of dedicated drivers, produce busses that are safe, defect free transport for our students. Each year Clay Community busses pass the State Police inspections with a 100% pass rate. And not just once but year after year they do this . I doubt that many or even any other school districts can claim this record of dedication. And the State Police inspection is not an easy test to pass, just look at some of our surrounding counties for a comparison.

I too don't want to see a "Palace" built but I don't feel that this is what they are looking for. The employees seem to simply want a safe, dry, warm/cool, efficient working environment. The same kind of working conditions that you would want to be working in. Nothing more, nothing less.

Like many other things we have neglected and put off here in Brazil and Clay County it is now time to pay the piper. Yes it should be done responsibly with a minimum of waste but it should be done. Like any other neglected thing it will only become worse and more expensive to fix the longer we ignore the problem.

-- Posted by BackHomeAgain on Sun, Dec 14, 2008, at 2:31 PM

This is so typical of this community. Let keep putting off something that needs to be done, year after year, until it literally is falling down or coming apart or both. Then spend way more than it would have cost if done at the appropriate time.

We have some forward thinking people in this community, but they are always drown out by the majority of backward thinkers. Take a look around, because our appearance tells everyone who we really are as a community.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 6:25 AM

Has anyone looked into purchasing that building on the corner of Pinckley and Chicago? It was used for semi repairs so it would be just right to work on buses. I also know that it has an big parking lot, therefore room for extra buses. Just a thought.

-- Posted by Icareaboutbrazil on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 6:47 AM

As an employee for Clay Community Schools Transportation over 24 years ago, I can tell you that this department is last on the proverbial list for any comforts & conveniences. We DID get a new office in the old creamery & were very proud & pleased to get it but the mechanics still worked in appalling conditions. Please consider the issues at hand...uninsurable buildings. The trailer in the picture is OK for a temporary fix but it is taking up valuable bus space, I'm sure, if not the traffic lane for fueling, I'd guess.

These loyal & trustworthy employees are the first contact for new little students & their parents...many of them are out on the roads in deplorable weather to test to see if the roads are safe enough for the students with no thanks & back to that cold/damp garage to continue their labor. Transportation Director & Mechanics, alike. A new Transportation Office & Bus Garage are needed. Please get this done in a timely fashion so their work can continue. This department, including the dependable/safe bus drivers, need immediate consideration!

-- Posted by AngieG on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 9:40 PM

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