NJC diesel program benefits from bus donation

September 15, 2009

When an old school bus has outlived its time in a school district’s fleet, sometimes it ends up in a salvage yard. But, if a bus is really lucky, it ends up reincarnated into a teaching tool. Such was the story this week for a 1986 B-600 47 passenger bus which was donated by the RE-1 School District to the diesel mechanics program at Northeastern Junior College.

Ironically, the gas engine bus will become a good teaching tool for the diesel program. According to Justin Mertens, coordinator of the diesel program, he plans to use the big yellow box on wheels to help diesel students learn about hydraulic brakes, preventive maintenance, lighting and instrumentation and even battery operations.

Cody Green, head mechanic for RE-1 School District’s fleet, himself a graduate of the automotive technology program at NJC, knew that the college program would find use for the bus, so he encouraged the district to recycle it back into education.

Green, Mertens and Cody Meyer, a diesel mechanic student from Cortez, who is president of the Diesel Power Mechanics Club on campus, were all on hand when the bus was presented to the college. The three were quick to think up, in jest, all kinds of ways that the bus could be put to use. A classroom on wheels was one thought. They speculated about how they could install a drop down white erase board at one end of the bus. The board would be really fancy and operate on a hydraulics system. Add some fancy lighting, too, one of them suggested, to help students really learn about lighting and instrumentation.

In the end, the bus will probably just be used as an in the shop teaching tool.

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