Options are slim for Wellington Schools when it comes to viable locations to park the district’s buses once the old McCormick Middle School building is torn down.
Superintendent Dennis Mock and business manager Tim Wulfhoop met with the village planning commission last Wednesday morning to discuss where the buses might go.
“We’ve been racking our brains quite a bit on where we could move them in the most proficient and economical fashion,” Wulfhoop said.
He started the discussion by presenting what he finds to be the district’s most cost-effective option: the Dickson Street stadium.
At this site, a maximum of nine buses would be parked in the lot that runs along Dickson Street in front of the new concession stand.
The area is already paved and installing electrical outlets for the buses wouldn’t be difficult because the concession stand already has electricity, Wulfhoop said. Diesel vehicles need to be plugged in during the colder months because the oil gets too thick to run smoothly through the engine.
Commission member Hans Schneider asked whether that parking would still be available for sporting events.
Wulfhoop said the parking would either be eliminated or the buses could be relocated during games and moved back to the stadium afterward.
“We can get at least nine in there, which is the max we would need,” he said.
The district has 12 buses it needs to store but three bus drivers have the ability to store buses at their homes.
In electricity alone, it would cost the district $15,000 to store the buses at the athletic complex, Wulfhoop said.
Drivers would arrive between 5:45 a.m. and 6 a.m. to prepare to take children to school. They should return around 8 a.m. and then activity picks up again around 2 p.m. until about 4 p.m.
On days of away games, buses could get back later in the evening.
Village council member Steve Maurer suggested people might not like loud noise and bright headlights at a quarter to six in the morning, while commission member Rich McHugh expressed concerns of the buses tearing up roads if they were to park at the stadium.
The second option Wulfhoop and Mock presented to the planning commission was parking buses at the high school.
An area could be fenced off to the south of the building where construction trailers sit now. One trailer would stay for the bus drivers to use to hold their belongings if needed.
Wulfhoop said that would generate a recurring monthly cost for the district on top of the $15,000 for electric outlets for the buses.
“Long-term, I think the high school is probably the best solution,” Wulfhoop said. “In the short-term, the stadium is a very quick solution.”
If the district were to put the buses at the high school, Wulfhoop would prefer to take the time to properly plan and raise the funds. He’s not fond of having the buses near the front of the building.
Village manager Steve Pyles suggested the Lorain County Faigrounds as a possible parking alternative.
Wulfhoop said there isn’t enough security at the fairgrounds and the area would need to be completely fenced in.
After the brainstorming session, Mock brought up the situation with the stadium’s unusable bleachers.
An inspector from the Ohio School Plan insurance agency refused to provide coverage for the seating structure in its current state.
The building underneath the bleachers was also partially condemned for asbestos and the possibility of mold in the roof.
Mock said the district is exploring options for renovating the bleachers. A big drawback is a rule requiring parking to be increased to 600 spaces on Dickson Street if the stadium is upgraded, he said.
Mock then brought up the idea of expanding the current track from six to eight lanes and slightly moving the location of the football field.
The district is looking at seating for 1,250 to 1,500 fans, which would cost anywhere between $125,000 and $150,000.
Wulfhoop said the cost of renovating the track, field, and bleachers could cost as much as $1.5 million, but it would need to be completed in phases.
Planning commission secretary Marla Lent informed Mock that if 50 percent or more of the property is changed, the district will have to bring it up to code.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photo by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Wellington Schools superintendent Dennis Mock and business manager Tim Wulfhoop meet with the village planning commission last Wednesday to discuss options for bus parking and the condemned bleachers at the stadium.