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OUT commission selects architects for bus facility expansion

Six years after a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Oxford-University Transit Maintenance and Operations Facility, members of the Oxford-University Transit Commission were interviewing two architect firms Wednesday vying for the chance to design an expansion to the bus depot.

On Tuesday, commissioners heard proposals from Howorth and Associates of Oxford and Beard and Riser Architects that has firms in Oxford and Greenwood. After 45-minute presentations, the commissioners selected Howorth and Associates and will recommend their hiring to the Oxford Board of Aldermen at an upcoming meeting after gaining approval from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The project consists of expanding bus and employee parking, adding a vehicle service bay, relocating the parts department, and possibly completing the second floor as a conference room. The construction budget for the project is $500,000.

Construction of the facility in 2012 was funded by a Section 5309 grant from the Federal Transit  Administration, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, state funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation and local contributions from the city of Oxford.

Also on Wednesday, the OUT Director Ron Biggs reported that 142,701 people rode the bus in November, down slightly from November 2016 when 168, 875 people rode the bus. The largest decrease was in the number of Ole Miss students riding the bus. In November 2016, 153,292 students rode the bus and this year in November, 129,113 students rode the bus.