The Wayne school district’s fleet of 84 buses will be housed at a new location on Riverview Drive in the Totowa Business Center.
The Board of Education approved a five-year lease agreement with the property owner at a meeting Thursday. The district’s entire fleet of buses, vans, trucks, transportation dispatchers, administrative offices, and the maintenance garage will be relocated to the site.
The district will rent the 13,000 square feet of space for between $11.50 and $13.75 a square foot. The rates were negotiated below market value for the duration of the agreement, which will expire in September 2018.
Business Administrator Juanita Petty said the district is still negotiating when the property may be accessed and when the district will begin making payments.
Petty did not know how much the lease would cost the district on a year-by-year basis. She said that it should cost $75,000 for the first six months.
The district’s transportation operations and buses are kept at North Cove behind the Wayne PAL building. Security has been a problem at the facility, which is prone to flooding. There is also no security system in place there and there’s no gate or fence to prevent access. A catalytic converter was stolen from one bus and one was attempted to be removed from another last May.
“We looked at over a dozen, if not more, sites in Wayne. The majority of the sites that were economically feasible were in the flood area, which put us in the same position we’re in now,” said board trustee Don Pavlak Jr. “I would have loved to keep the buses in Wayne but this is something that’s too good to be true. It gives us something we need and gives us a safe place for our buses.”