District 14 preparing to open its new $3.6 million bus garage/storage facility at Ethete

The cavernous indoor bus barn at Wyoming Indian Schools will hold 14 school buses. The facility also includes a central storage area and a three bay maintenance area. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Ethete, Wyo.) – Fremont County School District #14 at Ethete is just weeks away from occupying its new $3.6 million transportation facility, located just south of Wyoming Indian High School. The cavernous new 38,000 square foot facility will serve as a central storage repository for the District’s equipment and supplies and it will house a three bay maintenance garage and a seven bay bus garage with enough space to house all of the district’s 14 school buses inside. On the outside of the new facility, a three-sided “lean-to” is nearing completion. That facility will protect the district’s other autos and larger SUVs, plus other equipment.

The current school bus barn, located just east of Wyoming Indian Elementary School at Mill Creek, has only four bays and the district’s buses are parked outside. “And right now our storage facilities are all over the place, in quonset huts and storage sheds,” said Superintendent Michelle Hoffman. “With this new facility, we’ll be able to consolidate all of our storage in one spot.”

The large 38,000 square foot building is located just south of Wyoming Indian High School at Ethete. (Ernie Over photo)

The new facility has separate storage rooms for paper, wood and paint supplies plus several offices and a first ever wash bay for the school buses.

Mid Valley Construction was the General Contractor on the project.

Hoffman said planning for the new transportation facility began after it was determined WIES would be replaced with a new school. “We had to build a new place for our buses to make way for a new school.”

The District’s current bus barn at Wyoming Indian Elementary School will be demolished to make way for a new school building. (Ernie Over photo)

District 14’s current fleet of school buses is kept outside. All of the buses will now have indoor parking when the new facility opens. (Ernie Over photo)

The new facility was funded 100 percent through District 14’s General Fund. “We were able to do that because before the School Facilities Department began paying for all new school buildings, each district was responsible for their own. So our board had been setting aside a little money each year for future needs,” Hoffman said.  “We were able to build this building with those set aside funds.”

Hoffman said the new WIES cannot happen soon enough. “Right now we have closed five bathrooms at the elementary school because the plumbing has disintegrated.” The elementary school was built in 1957 when it served as the Mill Creek School for FCSD #1 in Lander. “It has old clay pipes under the center of the building, and after all this time, they’re falling apart,” she said.

A feature at the new facility is a three sided “lean-to” where other district vehicles and equipment can be parked and protected from the weather. (Ernie Over photo)