HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Construction on a new mass-transit facility in Hattiesburg is expected to begin at the start of the year.
Representatives with Major Design Studio, the architectural firm working on the new facility, gave an update to Hattiesburg city leaders on progress Monday evening during a work session.
"We're actually completing the construction document phase and ready to send it out for bids once council approves it at the next session," said Major Andrews, principal architect with the studio out of Columbus, Mississippi.
Once council members give the studio the green light, advertisements for bids on the reconstruction project will open.
Hattiesburg's mass transportation barn and several buses were destroyed in January's EF-3 tornado. The city signed a year lease for a building on West Pine Street in April to serve as a temporary location.
Andrews told council members Monday evening that he hoped to start construction on the new facility in January of next year, a process that is expected to take about eight months. The completion date is scheduled for the middle of September in 2018.
"So many of our residents utilize mass transit and we actually hope that more will start to utilize it, so having that facility as our hub where our mass transit is located out of is important that we can have efficient operations," said Jeffrey George, Councilman for Ward 1.
While a design of the new facility has not been released to the public, Andrews told council members hard copies would be left at City Hall for them to take a look at.
Andrews said that it is an "upgraded version" of the existing facility prior to the tornado, with two bays to service buses and an open bay for use. Andrews added the facility was upgraded to meet ADA standards (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and current codes.
"Enough equipment and space for employees and maintenance to buses, that's going to be the main help there," Andrews said.
An approval for the design is expected to be added to City Council's next meeting, on November 21st. Andrews said the expected cost of the facility is around $1.4 million.