BRYAN, Texas — As soon as someone steps into the Bryan ISD transportation and maintenance facility, they can see how just how old and despair the buildings and shops are. A ceiling collapse, like what happened Thursday morning, is just one instance of what staff deals with often.
"We're experiencing the roof leaking, we're experiencing rust, we have a flooding problem," said Norris McDaniel, Jr., the assistant director of Transportation Operations.
Bryan ISD is hoping voters will approve its 2020 bond election that will build a new facility for the department.
The transportation and maintenance facility was built in 1979. A lot of its buildings and roads are worn down, which leads to problems like water leaking or animals crawling in through holes in the building.
“When you say fixing things every day, some days things don’t get fixed," McDaniel said.
The maintenance crew for Bryan ISD can’t always repair what is damaged because they have to go help other campuses within the district as well. The outdated buildings are causing problems left and right.
“Every time it rains the shop has to be mopped up because it floods," said Andrew Strybos, the parts specialist for the transportation department.
Not to mention, the equipment is also outdated.
Bryan ISD has about 150 buses, but the facility only has three diesel pumps. Plus, they don't have enough storage to keep fuel and fill up buses each week, so staff has to bring in an outside fuel truck often.
"[Staff] is constantly working to keep up with the fuel we need to keep the fleet going," Strybos said.
The shop isn’t large enough or has enough resources to repair a lot of bus problems. Again, the department is often outsourcing their fleets for repairs. After a time, that cost adds up.
“Without the fleet being maintained, we can’t get these kids to school and that’s what it's all about," Strybos said.
As the years have gone by and the district continues to grown, the number of staff in the buildings has too. About 150 people work inside the offices, which is more than the buildings were intended for.
“The spread of germs is just so much because every area is so compact, we don’t have space," McDaniel said.
Staff said it is frustrating to deal with the same problems each day and brings down morale around the office.
“Every time we know it's about to rain and we have to prepare to stop working and basically clean the shop again," Strybos said.
A new facility and location would help solve a lot of the issues transportation and maintenance deal with, especially creating a safer work environment.
“We’ll be set for a while and just be able to maintain our daily routine and not have to worry about so many other things," McDaniel said.
If Bryan ISD's $175,000,000 bond is approved, funds would go towards rebuilding a new facility for transportation and maintenance, purchasing land for the facility and buy more buses.
If the bond is approved it would not increase the tax rate for Bryan ISD taxpayers.