With the new school year already started and fall sports less than a week away, Beatrice Public School’s new activities bus has arrived in time for students to travel in style.
The sleek Orangemen and Lady O-themed bus cost roughly $158,000, two-thirds of which was purchased through a Volkswagen lawsuit grant and an additional grant from the Margaret and Martha Thomas Foundation.
“That helped make the determining decision about what type of bus or how big we get and what it would all have in it,” BPS Superintendent Jason Alexander said. “The school district paid the rest of it.”
The new bus replaced the yellow, 1998 model with a 54-person capacity. The capacity is roughly 42 people.
“One of the main reasons we didn’t make it any bigger was because we wouldn’t have a place to store it indoors out of the weather,” Alexander said.
Other than the display of BPS pride, the new bus also has air conditioning, individual seats and overhead storage.
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Alexander said that he hopes every activity gets a chance to use the bus this school year.
“It’s just going to depend on the season, and then the scheduling for field trips and things like that,” Alexander said. “We want our younger students to ride in it, as well. A lot of priority will be given, like it is now, to whichever activity is traveling the furthest. So it’ll operate a lot on that type of basis.”
In addition to the old bus, the district has roughly 10 vans for activity transportation that Alexander said are becoming outdated.
“About 10 years ago, the law changed where we can only use 10 passenger vans,” Alexander said. “So the district had to make accommodations to meet that law to transport students. So all the vans were bought at about the same time period. Now, we’re finding that as those vans start to need replacement, we’re going to have to start the placement process.”
Alexander said the district plans to replace the vans one at a time every one or two years.
“We appreciate the support of the community in getting these things done as they need to be done,” Alexander said.