New Transportation Yard Should Save School District Thousands

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday February 11, 2010 - 09:42:00 AM
BUSD’s new $10 million transportation yard will save the district $450,000 annually.
Mark Coplan
BUSD’s new $10 million transportation yard will save the district $450,000 annually.

Berkeley Unified School District has a brand new, state-of-the-art transportation facility that will save $450,000 annually. 

Located at Sixth and Gilman streets, near Picante and Pyramid Brewery, the $10 million complex brings together components of the district’s transportation division that were located at three different addresses in the city. 

The facility will serve 32 school district employees. 

Funds for construction were provided by the school district’s facilities bond. 

Constructed over an 18-month period, the property includes new offices, a classroom building and a mechanical shop with 32 spots for buses and 37 for cars.  

Until now, the district was leasing a bus yard and a mechanical shop. 

Berkeley Unified Transporation Manager Bernadette Cormier called the new facility “environmentally friendly.” The landscaping includes a bioswale designed to capture rainwater.  

“It’s wonderful to have an operation located all together for the first time in 16 years,” she said. “We can look out of the dispatch room and see our bus fleet right there. It’s beautiful and in harmony with the neighborhood. We can communicate face-to-face with our drivers.” 

The project initially caused concern among neighbors who feared it would increase pollution, noise and traffic. They also worried about the construction of a bus depot that Mayor Tom Bates has singled out for heightened commercial use.  

However, district officials said that since a part of the facility was essentially moving from right across the street, very little would change.