RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Public Schools is eyeing a new home for the district’s buses after a massive fire destroyed their maintenance facility last month.
A fire broke out at Richmond Public Schools’ bus depot on Chamberlayne Avenue on the morning of June 29. According to the Richmond Fire Department, four or five buses were inside at the time and two were damaged beyond repair.
Jonathan Young said the destruction left school leaders scrambling to find another space to repair their buses.
“The last thing in the world we need is some buses sitting idle for maintenance,” he said.
The agenda for Monday night’s school board meeting has a presentation from the director of transportation. According to the agenda, the first option is a property on East 6th Street in Richmond.
It would cost nearly $5,000 a month to rent the property which has four garage bays. That’s half of the garage bays the facility on Chamberlayne Avenue had. RPS would also be responsible for installing alarm systems on the property, according to Young.
The second option is a property on West Hundred Road in Chester. It would cost more than $17,000 a month to rent the property and it would provide 10 garage bays. Young said that location is not ideal given the distance from Richmond.
“Chester is just entirely too far for our buses to be driving for all of the maintenance that is requisite for our fleet,” he said. “It’s a significant hike and really doesn’t represent the best option.”
Young said the Richmond location is preferable because it’s a central hub to all of the schools in the area.
“When you incur the kind of mileage that our buses do every year you’ve got to have a facility open and ready to go especially in time for day one of the school year,” he said.
If school board members take action on the Richmond facility, it could be ready by the time school starts in August, said Young.
The school board meeting is planned for 6 p.m. on Monday.