The fate of a new location for the bus barn hangs in the balance following the Campbell County Board of Commissioners’ directors meeting Monday afternoon, during which the Campbell County School District (CCSD) asked commissioners to commit additional land to the project.
During the meeting, commissioners discussed the district’s request to take ownership of land surrounding the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and Detention Center. Past commissioners have been reluctant to allow anything permanent on the space surrounding the CCSO because of the costs to develop a new jail if the current site were ever to become land-locked and have always reserved the area for future expansion of the CCSO.
Public Works Coordinator Kevin King explained the district’s plans to develop the plot to which Commissioner Bob Maul objected.
“I’m not in favor of this,” he said bluntly. “We’re worried about the exhaust we’re dumping on the hospital, but we’re going to do the same thing to the jail?”
Maul was referring to the exhaust that is emitted from the many busses that are currently parked above Stocktrail Elementary School. He claimed that people in the community, especially senior residents of the Birchwood Apartments, have voiced complaints about the busses’ emissions. The rest of the commissioners were unaware of this complaint, but were open to discussion.
King, who was joining the meeting via phone call, asked that the board finalize this decision sooner rather than later as the school district has already begun its initial phases of design. According to King, soil tests have been conducted at the site, meaning that CCSD has already invested money into the project.
Maul explained that to his recollection, the board never officially granted the area to CCSD. Commissioner Rusty Bell disagreed, saying that during a March meeting the commissioners did in fact give the school district the green light to begin construction.
Administrative Director Carol Seeger interjected, insisting that the board requested a definitive plan from the school district, so that a purchase agreement could be drafted. The board spent a few minutes discussing the issue back and fourth and looking over minutes from previous meetings to recall what had been decided.
Eventually, Chairman DG Reardon announced that in order for the district to move forward with testing or construction, King and Seeger must coordinate and draft a plan for the space that will benefit the bus barn without disrupting the CCSO and detention center or create traffic flow problems on South 4-J Road.
Past commissioners had promised CCSD property for the bus barn in the County’s Centennial Section north of Gillette by the Campbell County Weed & Pest building a number of years back. At that time, commissioners provided the land to CCSD in exchange for the old Westwood School site near the Campbell County Senior Center. In the time since that deal was made, commissioners have slowed down on development of the Centennial Section and the district has sought a different site given Gillette’s expansion south.
Reardon added that the board would further discuss this issue in a later meeting and deferred the topic for the time being.