Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 8, 2012

Happy reunion with bus barn

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It's a happy reunion for sure as Pauls Valley school officials now have a brand new bus barn after a fire claimed it back in the summer.

It was back in July when what was determined to be an accidental electrical fire severely damaged the district's transportation and maintenance building located just behind the local high school.

Now all of that is in the history books as the facility has essentially been rebuilt allowing workers in both departments to return.

That sense of getting things back to normal is a really big deal for those overseeing both the buses and the district's maintenance, said PV Superintendent Darsha Huckabaa.

“We're totally done and back in there,” Huckabaa said.

“It's extremely important to have that building,” she said. “They haven't had a home. Being able to pull the buses in and have everything right there in one place is a big deal.”

When the fire occurred in mid-July work began immediately to clean up, along with recovering anything and everything that was damaged.

In the end most of what was left needed to be replaced forcing officials to essentially build a whole new facility.

“We totally skinned that building after the fire,” Huckabaa said.

“Everything was replaced except the concrete and a few metal beams.”

Estimates are the cost of renovating the building falls in the range of around $400,000, which according to Huckabaa was covered by the school district's insurance coverage.

The only thing left to do for guys like district transportation director Terry Jones and maintenance director Tim Williams is to replace a few items for the new facility such as furniture.

The opening of the new facility is also good news with the recent arrival of five new 72-passenger buses that come from a bond issue approved by local voters earlier this past spring.

Those buses are already on the job transporting students around, while yet to arrive are a large Panther activity bus and a 29-passenger mini-bus still yet to arrive.

As for the other projects included in that same bond issue Huckabaa says things are moving forward.

Those projects are the renovation of the junior high auditorium, football fieldhouse and gym in the local Wacker Park.

Bids for the trio of projects could come as early as next week.

 “We're bidding out all three projects at the same time because we feel if we can get more people bidding then we could have more competitive prices,” Huckabaa said.