Work begins on new SARTA transit center

March 8, 2023
The new 5,565-square-foot transit center will cost $5.1 million to build and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Work is underway on a new Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) transit center.

Officials announced at the end of 2022 plans to abandon the former Hampton Inn transit center and build a temporary shelter to accommodate riders until the new station is constructed at the same site.

Kirt Conrad, chief executive officer and executive director of SARTA, said the new station was needed for several reasons, including the fact Hampton Inn transit center could not accommodate some of the newer buses’ height, the site was not visible for riders, and it also posed safety concerns because of sight lines for drivers entering and exiting the facility.

“We just outgrew it,” Conrad said. “It was hidden back behind and didn’t have great exposure.”

SARTA has plans to build a 5,565-square-foot transit center on a 1.5-acre spot across from the Towne Plaza shopping center. Conrad said the size of the facility has increased slightly from the original plans. The cost is set at around $5.1 million.

Conrad noted the conceptual design put the project at around $4.25 million but increased construction costs and additional plans for the facility have bumped the price. Despite the increase, Conrad is pleased with the cost, adding that it is lower than the engineer’s projected cost, and SARTA received multiple competitive bids for the project.

The transit center will include a park-and-ride lot with about 20 spaces, as well as electric car charging stations. Conrad said both the parking lot and charging stations were added after the agency announced the project.

Officials opted to include the charging station after they saw the usage at the Belden Village transit center. Conrad said drivers use that charging station about 75 times each month.

The new Massillon station will resemble SARTA’s Belden Village station. The climate-controlled space includes public restrooms and will be equipped with customer service representatives to help riders.

Grading is complete and foundation work is expected to continue. Conrad said the building should begin to take shape this summer, and the agency expects to begin to use the building by the end of 2023.

Conrad noted about 400 riders use the transit center each day, adding riders travel to a variety of places.

The new station is more visible. It can be seen from state Route 21. It also will provide better sight lines for drivers and a better-turning radius.