Green Fleet

A New Facility & Outlook for City of Columbus Fleet

The City of Columbus, Ohio, demonstrates how updating facilities results in more than a new appearance.

January 2009, Government Fleet - Feature

by Shelley Mika - Also by this author

This year, the City of Columbus, Ohio, made major strides toward accomplishing its mission: to provide state-of-the-art total fleet maintenance services and help city departments and divisions operate vehicles in a cost-effective manner.

The City's most notable effort in revolutionizing fleet operations has been consolidating five fleet sites into one new, state-of-the-art facility. Previous facilities were simply out of date. Some could not accommodate larger modern equipment.

"Equipment size increased over time, leading to insufficient space to properly service vehicles, barely any space to walk between vehicles, insufficient overhead clearance, and significant age issues with the entire building," said Kelly Reagan, fleet administrator for the City of Columbus. "Before the new facility was constructed, there were no lifts for heavy trucks and equipment. All work had to be performed under vehicles on creepers. At our fire maintenance repair facility, there was only room to work on one aerial ladder at a time and it had to be put in a specific location so the cab could be tilted between the ceiling trusses."

At the old facilities, fluids were handled in 55-gallon drums, labor intensive to manage and inefficient in price. These sites also suffered from age, with unsafe and deteriorating roofs, flooding problems, inadequate space, poor lighting, poor ventilation, and out-of-date service equipment. Also, none of the facilities had adequate security in place.

At the new $27 million, 150,000 square-foot facility, technicians have ample space and overhead to properly service vehicles. Security for vehicles being serviced has improved significantly. Furthermore, the facility provides additional parking, eliminating repeated shuffling of vehicles. Other perks include high-output fluorescent lighting in each of its 77 service bays, updated equipment, an updated efficient HVAC system, and several "green" elements.

In addition, physical improvements greatly enhance safety, efficiency, and performance. These include state-of-the-art vehicle lifts, automated fluid dispensing, and environmentally friendly spill clean-up and containment.

"Employees are no longer required to manually move heavy 55-gallon drums of fluid throughout the facility. Now, all fluids are dispensed from a centrally controlled, as well as a centrally 'contained,' bulk storage room," Reagan said. "These latest technological advances have been implemented in an effort to inform and alert technicians (via administration computers) of a spill and/or any issues related to maintaining the bulk systems. Environmentally friendly spill clean-up reduces slip and fall injuries."

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