Bus barn simulation
held for wary neighbors
Express Staff Writer
A group of
Woodside residents joined school board members and school district
officials Saturday morning near the southeast side of the existing Wood
River High School science wing to see what it might be like if increased
bus traffic occurred in the Hailey neighborhood.
morning, neighbors and school district staff listen and sniff during an
enactment of what a bus barn scenario might be like if approved for
the Woodside site near the new high school. Transportation Director Rex
Squires, third from right, and Superintendent Jim Lewis, second from
right, were among those present to talk with residents. Express
photo by David N. Seelig
there that a proposed Transportation Facility—or bus barn—would be
built if approved by school board trustees.
enactment was held to see what the noise level and fumes might be if the
bus barn were built on the proposed site.
Squires, transportation director, put two yellow school buses end to end
to simulate a berm that would hide the facility from the neighborhood to
the west. Behind those buses he parked four more buses side by side. He
started all the buses and let them idle. He also backed up a bus to give a
decibel reading on the beeps of a warning bell. There would ultimately be
approximately 25 buses housed at the site, though only 17 make daily
routes. Four buses were chosen for the enactment since on any given day
only four would be idling concurrently, Squires said.
stood to the west of the site in the soccer field and compared notes on
noise, fumes and visuals.
Many of the
neighbors had brought their dogs with them, which, for a change, created a
friendly atmosphere between the two camps. The former superintendent of
the school district, Phil Homer, was also in attendance.
level of the buses idling read in the low 60s on the decibel scale. When
Jim Lewis, current school superintendent, spoke, his voice measured at 70
decibels. The school bell rang and it also measured 70 decibels. The
back-up warning beep measured in the mid-60s. Noise from an airplane
taking off from nearby Friedman Airport wasn’t measured but it was a
good deal louder than the buses.
reading higher than 92 is considered detrimental to hearing.
were unnoticeable for the most part until the wind changed direction, and
then very slightly.
are encouraging the board to look at other options for the facility,
though many of those sites have been analyzed and rejected already.
Without another bond passed, the money for the facility—on a site where
more land would need to be leased or bought—simply isn’t there in the
current budget, Lewis said at a public meeting May 7 at the middle school.
presented by Steve Keefer, one of the Woodside neighbors, is to exchange
the land currently planned for tennis courts for the bus barn site. The
difference in these sites is location and space. The location of the
tennis courts is behind the school to the west near the planned football
field. It is .85 of an acre and, according to Keefer’s plans, 18 buses
could be parked there.
proposed site south of the science wing is approximately 4 acres. The
plans for the facility call for it to be 420 feet long.
feel that there would be no need to expand it in the future," Lewis
said. There is more room for parking and a bus turn around, and, most
importantly, there is space for snow removal, Lewis said.
currently being proposed, the bus barn would also be immediately adjacent
to the addition on the science wing, where the bus maintenance would be
housed along with technology, student and food services. Consolidating all
these services in one location is one of the district’s main aims for