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Pan Tran gets $1 million needed for new facility

February 09, 2000|By BRENDAN KIRBY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As it eyes expansion, the Eastern Panhandle Transit Authority will soon have a new headquarters.

The agency, which is funded by federal, state and local governments, recently received a $1.1 million federal grant that should pay the entire cost of a new office and maintenance building, Pan Tran Manager Linda Mason said Wednesday.

The 2,080-square-foot building will include administrative offices, repair facilities and garage bays for the agency's eight buses, Mason said.

Currently, buses remain in an outdoor parking lot when not in use. Having the heated garage will reduce wear on the vehicles and should extend their life, Mason said.

"It means you don't have to leave them sitting near as long to heat them up," she said. "You don't have to worry about snow - clearing it off - either."

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Pan Tran purchased a 2-acre property just outside the Rockefeller Industrial Park near Novak Drive in December to construct the facility. The grant, which will be administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, should be enough to cover the entire cost, Mason said.

It will be similar in design to garages in Petersburg, W.Va., and Summersville, W.Va., she said.

Mason said the state will invite companies to bid on the project in about four months.

The announcement of the grant comes as Pan Tran is preparing to expand service in Berkeley County.

Starting in the middle of next month, the agency will provide service to Hedgesville, W.Va., with three daily round trips.

Currently, the agency has eight 36-passenger buses that serve Berkeley and Jefferson counties.

When the new headquarters opens, Pan Tran will move out of its current rented building off W.Va. 11.

"We have always rented," Mason said. "We've never had a place of our own."

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