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Funding for new school district bus garage OK'd

Funding for a new Sunnyside School District 21,000 ft. bus garage has been approved, but funds for an upgraded skills center is still making its way through the legislative process.

That's according to Sunnyside School District Community Relations Coordinator Curtis Campbell.

"The district needs a transportation facility that is easier to access and creates less traffic congestion," said Campbell. "The new site, which will be put next to the proposed skills center, will also allow for a diesel mechanics program to be put into operation by having the ability to jointly use the space between the facility and skills center."

The bus garage and proposed skills center will be located at the Port of Sunnyside's industrial/business park, which is located on East Edison Avenue.

"The port and school have been working on getting the vo-tech center located in Sunnyside for several years and have had portables on the site for classes for two years," said Port of Sunnyside Director Amber Hansen.

Hansen has high hopes for the skills center, which she says will proved needed training so when industries look at Sunnyside, "They can be assured that they will have a quality trained workforce for their needs."

Hansen added, "The center also provides training that will help our young people get and retain good family wage jobs."

Hansen said it's important for people to know that the business park has development covenants so the building and development will be held to the same developing and landscaping standards as everybody else that locates to the East Edison Avenue site.

If the skills center is approved, it will be 8,000 square feet in size. Campbell said that design of the building is tentatively slated for completion in December 2009, and construction would begin in June 2010.

Campbell said that the new bus garage will cost $3.3 million and the state is paying $2.8 million. The local share from the Sunnyside School District's capital fund will be about $500,000.

Construction of the bus garage is slated to begin in August, he added, and should be completed by May 2010.

Of the skills center, he said, "The funding isn't approved yet, it's still making its way through the legislature capital budget, but looks to still be intact."

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