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Bus lifts topic at General Brown board meeting

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DEXTER — The General Brown Central School board hopes by its January monthly meeting it will have a better grasp on how to replace lifts for the mechanic bays of its bus garage, 17704 Cemetery Road.

Pamela S. Beyor, chairwoman of Bernier, Carr & Associates, a Watertown architecture and engineering firm, presented to the board at its Dec. 17 meeting options to mull over on replacing bays.

Because of the deterioration of the concrete pit walls in each bay, Ms. Beyor said, those walls will have to be either dug out and repaired for another pit-based mechanical lift or just dug out and filled in.

For the past couple of Board of Education meetings, some members wondered whether portable lifts would be a better option. Ms. Beyor, however, initially recommended against that during the board’s December monthly meeting.

“Those lifts require more room than what we have,” she said. “We’d only be able to fit one in the space where we have two. For this type of operation, I don’t think functionally it makes sense.”

She said they take up more room because portable lift posts are on the outside of buses. Board members John Hardy and Michael E. Kucharski later said there are certain attachments that could allow for those lifts to support the front and back of the bus so there may be less of a space issue. Operations Director Gary C. Grimm, however, said that if lift posts would interfere with bus gas tanks, they would not be an option.

That’s when Bruce C. Strough suggested the board take more time to research movable lifts.

With all pit work and actual lift components totaled, a regular pit lift replacement would cost about $160,000 and a movable lift would cost about $105,000. Board member Daniel J. Dupee II suggested the board look into both options, and possibly purchase one of each. Any possible contamination from leakage of hydraulic fluid would increase the cost of the project.

In Ms. Beyor’s report, she said two mechanic lifts were installed in 2005, and they are now inoperable. Bus garage staff has only one functional lift. Representatives from Bernier, Carr interviewed bus garage staff, she said, and found that staff members there prefer the pit-based lifts.

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