MANATEE -- A full year into construction, a fleet maintenance facility being built for Manatee County Area Transit is finally looking like it could house a few buses.
Set for completion in August, the set of transit buildings at Tallevast Road will be home to 75 public transit buses plus extra room for future needs. The facility includes administrative offices, a fleet bay area, a bus fueling station and a bus wash. It also will boast about 200 parking spaces.
The buildings are fully erected have siding and roofing installed. Work continues on the interiors and other features at the site.
At 116,000 square feet on a 36-acre site, the facility will provide a lot more space for the transit staff. Currently, 23 administrative employees and 72 transit drivers work out of a 5,900-square-foot building at a 1022 26th Ave. E. That facility, which was built in 1961, serves MCAT buses, but also county maintenance and fleet vehicles.
MCAT's new fleet location has been in the works for several years. The county purchased the land in late 2012 for $4.52 million.
Before the project broke ground, it faced opposition from neighbors concerned it would increase traffic near their homes. The project was approved by the Manatee County Commission and it commenced in February 2015. Many of the firms and construction trades working on the $16.9 million project are from Manatee and Sarasota counties. The pre-engineered metal buildings were built by a Tallevast company, Trident Building Systems. Architecture and engineering services were sourced from Bradenton.
Other local firms doing work on the project include excavating company Woodruff & Sons, foundation builder Landmark Services of Southwest Florida, and drywall installer and framer Dolphin Innovations.
Michael DiPinto, Manatee County's project engineer for the new facility, said the final product will be innovative and energy efficient.
The facility is expected to qualify for LEED Silver commercial building designation, one of the top labels for low energy use and certifying efficient use of building materials. Special touches include translucent siding panels to let more natural light into the bus bays and bright white floors to amplify lower levels of interior lighting.
Status Update, published Saturdays, is the Herald's weekly look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County.