To create its transportation center and central kitchen, the Bethel School District—working with BNBuilders and Bassetti Architects—made programmatic design and campus layout a critical factor.

The school district wanted this $19-million facility, located on a 20-acre site, to support an efficient workflow and provide workers with a comfortable environment.

The center is designed around the 10 bays used to maintain the district’s school bus and automobile fleet.

BNBuilders constructed pre-engineered metal buildings to house the transportation center, central kitchen and multi­functional space.

Multiple buildings give the facility a campus-like feel. An employee parking area, accommodating more than 300 vehicles, was placed on one side of the site, while spaces for 294 buses were located on the other.

Also included are a fuel island, bus wash, 1,000-sq-ft storage shed and green space between the transportation center and central kitchen that serves as the campus hub. The kitchen will serve all schools in the Bethel district.

When the project began, plans were in place for only one building. However, team members opted to divide it into two to lower the amount of unnecessary square footage.

To create this facility, developers used lean construction practices with a focus on partnership, communication and collaboration to minimize the risk of costly delays, encourage innovation and reduce waste during the entire construction process.

As one example, those working on the project used data vaults on site to ensure efficient quality control and document sharing. The new design also put the break room space on top of the transport building rather than beside it, which provided the green space next to the building. In addition, the design-build approach kept the project within budget.

The project required some 50 permits from Pierce County, but the design team crafted a “package” to get them approved in a timely manner. Out of a total 100,000 worker hours, there were zero accidents. Weekly onsite safety meetings kept employees and subcontractors focused on safety issues.

Bethel School District Transportation Center and Central Kitchen

Spanaway, Wash.

Key Players
Bethel School District
Lead Design Firm Bassetti Architects
General Contractor BNBuilders