Allen "Bus Barn" Project Draws Criticism

School district service facility approved by voters as part of bond package that included Eagle Stadium

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents near Cheatham Elementary School are not happy with the Allen Independent School District's plans for a bus barn. Allen ISD calls it a service center and says the growing district already got voter approval on the project to store buses, fuel, food service and more. (Published Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012)

    Residents of an Allen subdivision say they are not happy about a heavy industrial site that will be built near an elementary school.

    Many Quail Run residents say they did not realize that voting for a massive bond package that included funding for a $60 million high school football stadium also meant approval for the school district bus service center project.

    "Most people I know say they were voting for a stadium," Stacey Schultz said. "They didn't realize they were voting for all of these other things."

    "If I knew, I wouldn't vote for this bus barn at all," Sophie Chen said.

    The stadium, Eagle Stadium, opened in August.

    A 2008 study showed the growing Allen Independent School District that it needed a new service center to house and maintain fuel and its fleet of school buses. The proposal, approved in 2009, also allowed for a food service transportation facility on site.

    But neighbors called foul when the district purchased 39 acres of land at the intersection of North Watters Road and Bossy Boots Drive.

    "We have over 1,400 people who signed a petition that they were against this facility," Schultz said.

    She said her main concern is that the site is near Cheatem Elementary School.

    "They are putting those hazards -- 24,000 gallons of fuel storage -- 1,000 feet from an elementary school," Schultz said.

    The district said it is a routine and safe way to store fuel on-site.

    Other neighbors, such as Chen, said they were also worried about traffic and the effect of idling buses on air quality.

    "One thing that is especially concerning is the pollution," Chen said.

    Allen ISD spokesman Tim Carroll told NBC 5 that the district has spent thousands of dollars on air quality and traffic studies, all of which did not show any potential dangers from the project.

    The service center facility has reached its design-development phase. Site plans were approved in August.

    The district plans to break ground in August 2013.