Posted 8/15/17 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
Most McKenzie County School District No. 1 patrons don’t think much about the school’s busses other than if they are running on schedule. But for Steve Holen, district superintendent and the school board, having a room to safely store and maintain their 45-bus fleet has long been a major issue.
“In spite of having one of the largest bus fleets in the state of North Dakota, the school district has always lacked adequate bus facilities to allow for consistent bus maintenance, especially during the winter months, and to keep bus service as consistent as possible,” states Holen.
And those busses, which travel over 300,000 miles per year, serve the largest geographical school district in the state with busses traversing an area encompassing 1,679 square miles to daily ferry students back and forth to class.
“We are also one of the few remaining school districts that attempts to provide door-to-door service throughout the county with the exception of in-town busing,” states Holen.
But the solution to the district’s lack of a transportation facility was finally solved this past summer when McKenzie Electric Cooperative’s headquarters facility in Watford City became available for purchase.
“We were able to purchase the cooperative’s property, which includes 7.5 acres of land, the 16,000-square foot office building and garages, as well as three outlying buildings for $2 million,” states Holen. “The purchase of that property allows us to finally have a centralized storage and maintenance facility for our bus fleet and it provides us with additional space to meet other district educational needs.”
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