Following an inquiry by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and a story this summer on Muddy River News, the Quincy School Board is exploring moving the district’s Transportation Department to Flinn Stadium.
Board member Richard McNay, who is the chairman of the board’s Building Committee, presented a proposal to the full board at Wednesday’s meeting.
Quincy Public Schools has a fleet of 85 buses that are serviced at the 20th and Hampshire facility known throughout the district as the “Bus Barn”. One-third of the buses are parked there with the rest of the fleet housed at Flinn, where the District’s fueling station is also located.
McNay’s concept is to build a new facility that would cost about $2 million on the north side of Flinn’s parking lot and add parking for buses on the west side of the lot, which includes a strip of land currently owned by the Quincy Park District. About half of the fleet would park in a newly-expanded west side of the Flinn parking lot, but there would also be additional parking spaces for football and other large events held at the stadium.
McNay said he spoke to the Park District about either obtaining the tract of land or an easement to it. McNay said purchasing the property made more sense with QPS looking to make such a permanent change.
The move would also help the coordination and scheduling of buses, which is complicated by the constant shuttling of buses between Flinn, where they are fueled, and 20th and Hampshire, where they are repaired and maintained.
Funding for the project will come from multiple sources, including the revenue from the sale of the old elementary buildings and excess funds left over from the $89 million building referendum. McNay said state would allow the district to amortize the cost of the project over 30 years.
Construction should take about 18 months once it is started, which he hopes will be in spring 2022. Once the Transportation Department is relocated to Flinn, the School District’s maintenance operations could possibly then move from 7th and Jersey to 20th and Hampshire, according to McNay.
Superintendent Roy Webb said he would be meeting with Klingner and Associates this week.
The movement on the bus situation follows an investigation by the IEPA that was brought about by a noise and pollution complaint filed by LeRoy Rossmiller, who lives at 2101 Hampshire.
Rossmiller, who spoke with Muddy River News in August about the problem, spoke to the School Board at Wednesday’s meeting and said this potential solution was “positive for everyone”.
Webb also reiterated at Wednesday’s meeting what he told Muddy River News in August, that the district’s primary focus during the last two years has been on dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and the Bus Barn matter had been backburnered.
In other action, the Quincy School Board:
- Approved the 2022-2023 QPS calendar. School will start for teachers on Aug. 15 with inservice days and students report on Aug. 17. The last day of classes for students will be May 30, provided there are no snow days, and teachers will have an inservice day on May 31. The calendar also includes two weeks for Christmas break, as there is this year, a spring break March 6-10 and an Easter break April 7-10.
- Voted to replace the roof on the aforementioned building at 20th and Hampshire and accepted a $283,180 bid from Full Service Roofing. The new membrane roof is expected to have a 20-year lifespan.
- Approved an estimated 2021 tax levy of $33,356,649 for property taxes that will be paid by property owners in 2022. Last year’s levy was $31,897,279. The levy is actually a little more than $41 million once the bond and interest payments are figured in.
- Voted to accept a recommendation by the Policy Committee to adopt a hate speech policy. The policy states “QPS will not tolerate words, language or actions that lessen the dignity of any individual” and anyone who violates the policy “must be met with swift and caring education, learning, re-direction and discipline.” The policy was written by the district’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.
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