Ozark Regional Transit starts construction on administrative office

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 770 views 

Construction work has started on a new administrative office, seen in this rendering, for Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit. ORT is expected to move into the new office in October.

Springdale-based transit provider Ozark Regional Transit recently broke ground on an 8,800-square-foot office building that will replace ORT’s existing administrative offices at 2423 E. Robinson Ave.

The $2.9 million project will be paid for with a $2.9 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). In September 2018, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced $366.2 million in grants for 107 projects in 50 states and territories. The grant money will come from FTA’s Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program. It was the third consecutive year that ORT had applied for the grant program.

The new office building will replace the existing 4,500-square-foot administrative office. Lowell-based Oelke Contractors is the general contractor, and Fort Smith-based Tim A. Risley and Associates is the designer.

“We’re planning on the new facility to be ready for occupation in October,” said James Damron of Tim A. Risley and Associates. “Once the staff has relocated, the existing building will be demolished [and] the south patio and vestibule will be completed along with the new staff parking lot.”

ORT plans to spend all of the grant money on the project, and whatever remains would be used for office furniture and information technology and media equipment, said Jeff Hatley, mobility manager and public information officer for ORT.

Plans include 16 offices, a dispatch area, multiple bathrooms, a kitchen area and lounge for drivers and room for expansion. It will also have meeting space large enough to host its board meetings.

The federal grant required a 20% match, and ORT will use the land on which the existing office is located for the match. The building will be built on property between the existing office and Robinson Avenue. ORT previously received a $3.6 million grant from the FTA to replace the buses that were destroyed in the Jan. 10, 2017, fire.