Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose achieved a dream last month.
She got to take the first swing to demolish the transit agency’s former headquarters building.
Rose manned an excavator in mid-July to kick off the demolition for the building that had been emptied now that the new headquarters building is pretty much complete.
“It was quite an event bringing down the old barn,” Rose said. She had stated in the months leading up to demolition date that she wanted to take the first swing to knock down the metal structure.
Construction on Island Transit’s new facility is about 80 percent complete, Rose said. Staff moved into the administration building in early June while the maintenance staff moved into the new repair bays earlier in July.
Transit officials have been trying for years to upgrade their headquarters campus, which is located on Highway 20 between Coupeville and Outlying Field.
The old building had become too small for Island Transit’s needs; mechanics only had two work bays where they could maintain the bus fleet and staff only had one restroom.
The new facility includes 15,400 square feet of administration and operations space and an additional 34,000 square feet for bus bays.
Plans to build the new headquarters building took a step forward when Island Transit received a $17.9 million federal grant to help pay for the new buildings.
The cost of the project was $22.4 million and Island Transit provided the remaining money as a match for the federal grant.
Rose said the project is about 80 percent complete and it is currently under budget.
Workers will cover the old site with parking and landscaping. Large mounds of dirt workers formed when the site was cleared will, in turn, be used for landscaping around the campus.
Rose said the dirt will be used to place berms around the area to help hide the campus from the view from the highway.
While staff has moved into their new building, one question remains unanswered. What about the secondary access the new Island Transit needs ?
Rose said the county granted a temporary occupancy permit so Island Transit can move in, but the secondary access will eventually be installed on Old Smith Prairie Road.
Plans for the second entrance are on hold until the Washington State Department of Transportation firms up its plans to reconfigure the intersections in that area.
The preferred plan that came out of a public meeting is to close the Highway 20 intersections at Old Smith Prairie and Parker roads and then funnel traffic to Morris Road.
Washington State Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Chesson said the project is still being designed. Once the designs are complete a public meeting will be scheduled.
He said that meeting should take place in late August, but, as of press time, a date has yet to be been finalized.