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The new Hays CISD transportation facility near Austin, Texas, hosted last summer’s International School Bus Driver Safety Competition and impressed organizers and participants alike.


With the recent industry-wide focus on employee


retention, workplace culture and teamwork in transpor- tation departments, more school districts are discovering what Lancaster CSD learned: By consolidating several far-flung facilities, a state-of-the-art facility offers more benefits than just increased efficiency or saving money. Providing an excellent work environment can also boost morale, improve productivity, increase safety, encourage employee fitness, keep drivers behind the wheel, and anchor mechanics in the garage.


Texas-Sized Upgrades The Hays Consolidated Independent School District transportation department, especially the 17 people who work in the shop, is very grateful for its new building. Transportation Director Filiberto Bonilla appreciates the efficiency of the state-of-the-art facility, and also how morale and safety have improved. The previous facility near Austin, Texas, was small and


cramped, he noted, which forced some of the mechanics to conduct much of their work outside in the Texas heat or inclement weather. Using the old facility as a mod- ernized satellite shop is also in the works. “That building is in the process of being remodeled


38 School Transportation News • FEBRUARY 2020


and will be ready for us to move some equipment back in during spring break,” Bonilla said. “The old facility worked back in the day, but we’d outgrown it.” He is especially thankful to the local taxpayers, who passed a bond measure in 2017 that approved the neces- sary $16 million for the new bus garage. “I’m so grateful that our technicians don’t have to work outside when they change fan belts and perform other maintenance tasks,” he explained. “Our 13 technicians have eight bays with power overhead doors, two wireless push-button lifts, and one bay with a pit. This gives them the space and tools necessary to keep our buses on the road.” One thing that he insisted on with the new construc-


tion was that concrete be poured for the parking lots. Asphalt deteriorates too quickly, he pointed out, and wouldn’t have withstood the wear and tear from the fleet of 226 buses. He also described what a positive impression the


concrete parking lot has had on visitors who participated in last summer’s International School Bus Driver Safety Competition that Hays CISD hosted. “They knew it would be hot here in Texas. But it wasn’t as bad standing on concrete as it would have been with heat radiating off of black asphalt,” he added.


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