Nova Bus has unveiled initial plans for a new customer inspection facility/bus showroom at its Banker Road manufacturing plant in the Town of Plattsburgh.
A sketch plan for the nearly 16,000-square-foot structure was approved by the Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board at its most recent meeting. It still requires approval of a detailed preliminary plan before work can commence.
Nova Bus and its sister company Prevost are both parts of the Volvo Group. Volvo Group Real Estate Manager Anthony Howe said the facility would meet their need for a place to offer clients a chance to view the finished product in a controlled environment outside the manufacturing plant and also serve as a final inspection area for those clients.
Volvo Group Vice President of Global Manufacturing Lars Blomberg said that is a key part of their operation.
“Every customer has a protocol that they walk through to see the bus is in compliance with what they ordered and to see that everything is according to their quality standards,” he said.
The inspection facility would better showcase their brand, Blomberg said, an offering that all of their competitors already have in place.
Robert M. Sutherland PC owner Aaron Ovios, whose firm is doing the site engineering work, said the building would feature extensive glass that would face Banker Road to enhance presentation. It would have 10 bays, each capable of holding one 40-foot bus.
The project is expected to be on the agenda for detailed preliminary plan approval at the next Town Planning Board meeting, scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. Nova is expected to also seek sketch-plan and detailed-plan approvals for expanded parking facilities for both employees and buses at that meeting.
The projects are part of continued expansion of the plant. The two companies now have 350 employees in Plattsburgh.
With the parking lot expansions, the property would have a capacity of 405 employees.
Blomberg said they would like to increase bus production from one bus every four hours to one every two hours, in order to meet demand on a number of contracts.
Two are with the New York City MTA. One is for 414 Nova transit buses and the other is for 300 Prevost buses, the latter more like long-haul vehicles used by companies such as Greyhound.
In addition, the Chicago Transit Authority picked up an option for 125 buses on top of its 2013 order for 300 buses. Nova Bus also has a number of smaller contracts with transit authorities across the country.
The Plattsburgh plant helps the company meet U.S. and New York content provisions in those contracts, a main reason the plant was built in the town.