Frank J. Polivka Transit Center at Lakeland Community College

Transit Center Construction Gallery
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Transit Center with signage installed 10/2/2020

Laketran Transit Center to create central hub, prepares for electric buses at Lakeland

 March 15, 2020 | Chad Felton, The News-Herald

A relatively mild winter has helped keep the construction of the Laketran Transit Center at Lakeland Community College on schedule for a late summer opening.

According to the transit agency, the new building, adjacent to state Route 306, will provide an indoor waiting area for customers and a central transfer point for Laketran’s four local routes, Park-n-Ride service to Cleveland, and Campus Loop shuttle service.

An additional function of the building will be to house charging infrastructure Laketran needs to deploy battery-operated electric buses next year.

“Lakeland’s iconic clock tower roundabout has unofficially operated as a central transfer point for our in-county fixed routes service for many years,” said Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “We appreciate the college’s commitment to public transit by allowing us to use the area as a bus stop, but the roundabout was never intended to serve as, what will soon be, a spot for five local routes, campus shuttle buses and cars dropping off students.

“When the college approached us about the idea of a transit center on the property, it was a win-win for both agencies,” Capelle added. “The new building will alleviate bus traffic on campus, making it more pedestrian friendly, and improves (the) waiting environment for our riders — many of whom are students coming to Lakeland.

“Plus, we were looking for places to install charging stations for electric buses that will operate Routes 1, 2, and 3,” he said

Laketran anticipates the transfer center will serve 65,000 commuters annually between the local routes, Route 11 Park-n-Ride and Campus Loop services.

Last year, the agency provided over 30,000 trips to Lakeland students alone using the local route service.

Lakeland President Morris W. Beverage Jr. noted that transportation is and remains a challenge for many of the college’s students.

“Having this (Laketran) transit center on Lakeland’s campus will eliminate that barrier so more students can attend classes,” he said.

Laketran hired Brunswick-based Engelke Construction Solutions as the general contractor at a building cost not to exceed $2.4 million.

Funding for the 2,200-square-foot center was leveraged by a mix of federal transit capital grants, including Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency’s Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative implementation grant, and a $1.5 million grant received by Ohio Department of Transportation’s Ohio Transit Partnership Program.

Laketran will provide $268,282 in local matching funds, its officials report.

The construction timeline aims for the transit center to be open when Lakeland’s fall semester begins in August.

December 2019: Groundbreaking of the Frank J. Polivka Transit Center at Lakeland Community College

We are excited to expanding our partnership with Lakeland Community College to build an intermodal transit center on the college campus. This new transit center will house the infrastructure needed to charge our new state of the art, emissions-free, battery-operated electric buses coming to Lake County in 2021. The Frank J. Polivka Transit Center will serve 65,000 annual passengers that use Laketran’s Local Routes, Park-n-Ride service to Cleveland, and Laketran’s Campus Loop – Route 7 shuttle service at Lakeland.

Laketran and Lakeland have been working on the project since 2015 with most of the time spent securing grant funds to pay for 80 percent of the project.  The funding includes six federal grants, including a Transportation for Livable Communities implementation grant from NOACA and a Federal Transit Administration Low-No emission vehicle program that funds the purchase zero-emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure. Lakeland and Laketran will contribute the 20 percent local matching funds to improve transportation access on campus for students, employees and visitors.