Education

Wake may build new school bus depot in Cary instead of at Middle Creek High

Mechanic Donald Liles services one of the fleet of buses for the Wake County School System at their garage on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Raleigh, N.C.
Mechanic Donald Liles services one of the fleet of buses for the Wake County School System at their garage on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in Raleigh, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

The Wake County school system is now looking at building a multi-million dollar school bus depot and maintenance facility near the Crossroads Shopping Center in Cary, instead of at Middle Creek High School.

The Wake County school board voted Tuesday to pay $13 million for the former Crossroads Ford of Cary service center site at 1660 Piney Plains Road in Cary. Betty Parker, Wake’s senior director of real estate services, said the district is looking at building a new transportation center on the 28.93-acre property instead of as originally planned near Middle Creek High.

In 2018, school officials presented a plan to build a 60,000-square-foot maintenance facility with 22 bays for repairing school buses along Optimist Farm Road in Apex, by Middle Creek High. Plans also call for a 19,000 square foot operations building and parking for 262 buses and 300 staff members.

The Middle Creek project has an estimated construction cost of $29 million.

School officials have long wanted to build additional transportation facilities, saying it’s inefficient for major maintenance to only be done at the main center on Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh.

But the Middle Creek plan drew opposition from neighbors.

“There’s just too much traffic in this area as it is, especially with all the new neighborhoods that are going up,” Apex parent Monika Shakinovsky told ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner, in May 2018. “There’s a lot of more kids in the area, and it’s just too congested already.”

Parker said more work needs to be done before the land purchase is voted on by the Wake County Board of Commissioners. But she said the new facility could be built quicker and less expensively at the Cary site than at Middle Creek.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.
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