The walls may not be visible, but the new $4.2 million transportation facility for the Copperas Cove Independent School District is progressing.

Workers from Mitchell Construction and other contractors have been on-site since September, using all manner of heavy equipment to create a complex that will provide ample space for 120 school buses, a repair shop with five bays, a fueling station, a building with offices and a 1,900-square-foot training room.

Gary Elliott, director of support services for the district, has waited for this facility to be built for decades. He’s watched the traffic snarls at the present three-acre location on South Fifth Street near Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School, where 92 buses fight for parking space, including behind the building and in the alley.

“This has been a need for a lot of years,” said Rick Kirkpatrick, CCISD deputy superintendent. Over more than a 20-year period, the district’s board of trustees has heard of that need, and finally approved the plan.

Elliott is especially pleased about the new training room, which will allow him to bring in all the bus drivers and crossing guards for 10 days prior to each new school year, for training that lasts five to six hours a day. “There’ll be room enough for everybody.”

There will even be room for expansion, Kirkpatrick added, if the district grows and even more school buses are needed. “We have another three acres at the back.”

For now, construction crews are concentrating on preparing the detention pond at the front of the property on Summers Road. They are moving a lot of dirt, and have already installed more than 600 feet of PVC piping for the office space plumbing requirements.

Concrete is poured on Tuesdays and Fridays, with an average of 80 trucks providing 800 yards of concrete to the site each week, according to Kirkpatrick. The portion of the bus parking lot that has been poured to date is larger than a football field. Elliott joked about using a golf cart or tram to take the bus drivers back and forth to their vehicles because of the distance.

Walls will begin to appear on the office portion of the facility in early March. The buses should be able to move into their new space in June, Kirkpatrick said.

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