Sabine Pass ISD New Transportation Center

Sabine Pass, TX

Sabine Pass ISD New Transportation Center

Owner: Sabine Pass Independent School District
Owner’s Representative: Gallagher Construction Services
Architect: TIBI Group

Situated adjacent to the Sabine Pass Independent School District’s football field and gymnasium stands the district’s new Transportation Center. Constructed by the SpawGlass-Golden Triangle team, the 55,000-square-foot cast-in-place structure is used for storing and repairing school buses as well as protecting them from the elements in case of severe weather.

Sabine Pass is a tiny coastal town just outside of Port Arthur, next to the Louisiana border and overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. For a town so small it does not even contain a gas station, Sabine Pass has historically suffered enormous losses. Hurricane Rita destroyed more than 90% of the town’s existing structures in 2005. A few short years later, while the town was still attempting to rebuild and many families were still living in FEMA-issued trailers, Hurricane Ike struck, leaving even more devastation to homes, businesses and infrastructure. Many displaced families chose not to return to Sabine Pass, resulting in a significant decrease in the town’s population and economic stability.

The lone public school in the district, Sabine Pass Independent School, houses all Sabine Pass “Sharks” from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school was rebuilt after being damaged beyond repair in 2005 and subsequently was one of the only structures to avoid further damage. Many students who attend the school ride school buses from Port Arthur or neighboring rural areas, meaning bus maintenance is of utmost importance for them to get to school each day. Previously, all maintenance was done in the existing “bus barn,” which also temporarily doubled as a make-shift fire station after Hurricane Ike.

With the new Transportation Center elevated 20 feet above ground to avoid interior flooding, buses drive up a ramp to the upper deck areas for storage and repair. Metal anchors and straps are used to fasten the buses to the structure to prevent tipping or damage during high winds. The multi-use building includes a mechanic’s bay and education rooms with the potential for observation and hands-on instruction for students.

The project was not without its hurdles, and the team rose to meet each of these challenges successfully. In the height of pandemic-era market inflations, the team needed to think creatively to employ cost-effective solutions. By conducting a strain gauge test on the auger cast piles at the beginning of the project, the team determined that the length of the piles could be shortened, resulting in savings to the district. Expediting buyout of subcontracts and purchase orders meant the team was able to avoid setbacks due to limited contractor availability and lengthy lead times.

The team consistently exhibited SpawGlass standards and values throughout the project, building trust and thinking like an owner to create a structure that satisfied the vision of the district without going over budget or sacrificing quality.

Regional Operations Manager Josh Baker shared that district representatives were extremely pleased with the team’s level of communication and the superior safety standards that were practiced during the project. “It was a welcome change for the district to know they could walk onto the jobsite at any time and find a safe, clean environment,” commented Josh. “We set the bar high during our initial meetings and followed through to exceed their expectations.”

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