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District adds 9 new school buses to fleet

Christine Kuklica
ckuklica@lahontanvalleynews.com

The Churchill County School Districts Transportation Department has added nine new buses to its fleet.

Transportation Director Steve Russell said he is thrilled about receiving the new buses.

“The new buses will be replacing some of our early 1990s models,” Russell said. “Once we get the old buses inspected by the Nevada Highway Patrol and add radios to them then we’ll be able to put them up for auction. The new buses that we’ve received are top-of-the-line, great buses and I can’t wait until we’re able to use them.”

Russell said before the buses are able to be street worthy they first must be inspected by the NHP.

“The new buses are built by Blue Bird and Thomas Built Buses,” Russell said. “We added six route buses, one special ed bus and two trip buses. We have a total of 30 route buses, six special ed buses. The new buses are able to seat 77 people and they provide riders with a little bit more leg room.”

The buses also have new features that the old ones did not have.

“These buses come with cruise control, heaters to get the engines warm on the cold mornings and they have heaters throughout the bus to keep everyone warm during the winter,” Russell said. “I didn’t think they needed air conditioning since it would only be used a couple months out of the school year. In November the buses will receive automatic chains for the tires, those will help when driving on ice or mud.”

Russell said the new route buses will be used for the longer routes that the district maintains.

The special ed bus has a few features the other buses don’t have.

“That bus is able to seat four wheel chairs,” Russell said. “It also has tinted windows and an AM/FM CD player. We will be providing music therapy on the special ed bus.”

The transportation department provides car seats for the elementary students. He said they are $185 a piece and for students up to 40 pounds and under.

“The car seats get inspected by the NHP twice a year just like the buses do,” Russell said.

Russell said the life of each bus is 15 years.

“We try to make the buses last as long as we can by making sure they’re taken care of properly,” he added. “We have three maintenance workers who take care of the buses. We perform preventative maintenance on the buses every six months, the NHP expects them every six months, and we change the oil at every 5,000 miles. We take really good care of the buses to get the longest life out of them.”

The new buses are easier to maintain and drive.

“Some other features of the bus include adjustable petals for the drivers,” he said.”They are quieter than the other ones, and they have dynastic computer so we can find out what exactly is wrong with them if something is.

Russell said the new buses were a great investment.

“I’m very excited that we were able to get these buses,” he said. “They’re a great addition, and I know the drivers and the students will enjoy them. I’m hoping we’ll be able to add some more new buses in a couple of years.”