In addition to the familiar green pickup trucks that zoom up and down Main Street, several new blue cars bearing the name Office of Physical Plant (OPP) have made their debut on campus.
As OPP has begun to sell old vehicles, they have opted to leasing new trucks rather than purchasing them.
These leases will be four or five year contracts from Enterprise Fleet Management, costing 250 to 350 dollars each year. This saves OPP money, as new pickup trucks typically cost 30,000 dollars each.
OPP also coordinated with the Enterprise Fleet Management to sell the older trucks they owned.
“The option for fleet leasing was discussed and reviewed over the course of several years. OPP worked closely with the Comptroller’s office to analyze the best method for procuring vehicles for academy use, and the school administration approved the OPP fleet leasing plan in the spring of 2011,” said Larry Muench, Director of Facilities.
Muench and Ronald Johnson, Manager of Grounds and Capital Projects, were in charge replacing the old OPP vehicles with the fifteen new vehicles. The number of vehicles in the fleet is subject to change, however.
The 15 vehicles identified in the OPP fleet leasing plan are used by Grounds, Facility Maintenance, Electrical-Mechanical, Custodial and O&E Safety office. Four new Rally Wagons that OPP manages for school groups and athletic teams that travel off campus, were leased.
OPP also purchased new larger equipment—loaders, bucket truck and a dump truck—and small equipment this year, but these were not part of the fleet leasing plan.
According to Muench, the vehicles had begun to wear out and maintenance costs were getting too high. After a few of the old trucks broke down, Muench said he was convinced to buy new vehicles for grounds, maintenance and campus movers.
Starting from around Spring Term of the 2010-2011 school year, OPP looked into getting new vehicles after the familiar green pickup trucks were getting a little too old.
Muench and Johnson also considered fuel economy and functionality when deciding which cars to purchase. They ultimately decided on the Transit Connections because of an effective combination of those factors.
“A Sustainability Assessment Report developed in 2008 for Phillips Academy by Woodward & Curran recommended improving fuel efficiency of the campus vehicle fleet,” said Muench.
“This objective was accomplished in part with the fleet leasing plan, since vehicles will be no older than five years old. Trade vehicles are leased for 5-years and Rally Wagons are leased for 4-years before being replaced. This ensures we have more fuel efficient vehicles in service that have fewer maintenance costs and are more economical to operate.”
Enterprise Fleet leased the vehicles for OPP, and Muench said that they chose blue vehicles to go with the school’s colors. The first Ford Transit Connect then made its way to campus for use in Central Services last spring term.
Other vehicles arrived on campus this fall, however, the full replacement of the fleet will be done by the end of the year.
According to Muench, Central Services was extremely pleased with the vehicle so OPP decided to use it for the new part of the fleet. However, OPP will continue to use pick-up trucks, cargo vans, and the Transit Connects for different tasks on campus.
“Depending on the type of work, if you’re using it for water heaters, or plumbing or steam fitters, you might need big equipment, otherwise the Transit Connect is perfect for a lot of the repair work that we do,” continued Muench.