COLUMBUS, Ind. — Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. has opened a new transportation training facility that will provide year-round education for new and existing drivers as well as emergency responders.
Monica Coburn, the district's transportation manager, and Bob Downin, transportation safety coordinator, have been working to bring the training center to fruition since 2006.
“I started my career in pupil transportation as a bus driver, and having a training facility that can help prepare people for the worst kind of situations has been a vision of mine since I began working with students,” Coburn said.
The center features computer stations and a classroom, as well as two school buses configured for training in emergency scenarios. One bus has been turned on its side, and its engine compartment churns out smoke from a fog machine to help create a challenging learning environment. Groups of up to 30 can be trained on bus procedures and how to handle emergency situations.
Kerlin Bus Sales and Leasing of Silver Lake, Ind., approached Thomas Built Buses about funding for the project.
“Thomas Built utilizes a system of continuous improvement to deliver school buses that incorporate proven, state-of-the-art safety features,” said John O’Leary, president and CEO of the manufacturer, “so we are delighted to help support a program that focuses on continuous safety and preparedness for its community.” Kerlin’s team also invested countless hours designing and modifying a donated bus to be used as a training tool.
The Cummins Foundation, which is headquartered in Bartholomew County, made a contribution needed to remodel the building that became the training facility.