The new school activity bus in Fayette County, Indiana, is turning heads, creating excitement, and instilling pride among students and the community. What began as a set of rough sketches on the desk of Katrina Falk, Director of Transportation, Fayette County School Corporation, has turned into a state-of-the-art, beautiful activity bus that will provide transportation for field trips and athletic events for the corporation’s 3,500 students.
The new Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner HDX rear-engine bus, proudly named the Spartan Express, includes 46 coach seats, is equipped with wi-fi for mobile learning, and is emblazoned with the Connersville High School Spartan. Thanks to the expertise and customer-focused response times of Kerlin Bus Sales in Silver Lake. Indiana, and Carolina Thomas in Greensboro, NC, the bus was ready for display at the Fayette County Fair from July 27-August 3.
“This bus has re-instilled a sense of pride not only among our students, but within people who live in the community,” says Falk. “When I took my initial ideas to Superintendent Scott Collins, he saw it as a great opportunity to invest in something really nice for all of the students.”
Showing Off Spartan Pride with Bus Graphics
When Falk started talking to Kerlin Bus Sales about her vision for the graphics on the outside of the bus, Kerlin contacted Carolina Thomas about the paint and graphics work. Both companies hold the distinction of being named Platinum Support providers for Thomas Built Buses, meaning they offer exceptional customer service.
Once the bus rolled off the assembly line at the Thomas Built plant in High Point, NC, it was taken to the Carolina Thomas body shop for paint and graphics. The Spartan of Connersville High School appears on the side and back of the red and white bus, while the front and back display the words “Spartan Express.”
“Carolina Thomas really made our tight delivery timeline possible, and they did so in the most impressive manner,” says Falk. “The graphics are flawless, and the paint job has gotten nothing short of rave reviews. It’s a real head-turner.”
A Mobile Learning Environment
The wi-fi equipment on the bus, which was the idea of Collins, allows teachers to conduct a mobile learning environment on the drive to and from field trips. Since every student has a tablet, information about the field trip subject can be loaded onto tablets ahead of time. Students are able to interact with the material before the trip and complete review activities after the trip. It also allows athletes to complete homework on the bus when traveling to away games.
The school corporation also hopes the bus can be used for community outreach in the summer. One idea is to take the bus to various locations throughout the district to allow parents to register their children for school in a convenient location that is close to home.
Realizing a Vision Through Collaboration
Falk credits the collaboration between Carolina Thomas and Kerlin Bus Sales with helping the corporation realize its vision for the new activity bus. Many previous activity buses were much smaller and were used only for the basketball team.
“To see what I cobbled together on a piece of paper actually become a real thing is so neat! Many directors at districts our size don’t even get as far as dreaming about putting one of these together, let alone actually getting as far as writing the specs. I’m so thankful for the opportunity,” says Falk.
Want to Display Your School Pride on a Bus?
The Carolina Thomas Body Shop handles a wide array of painting and graphics for all size buses. A state-of-the-art facility designed specifically for bus painting and factory-trained technicians offer long-lasting paint and graphics. Painting and graphics capabilities include:
- Custom vehicle graphics – vinyl or paint – including logos, decals, lettering, complete wraps, removal and installation
- On-site paint kitchen with computerized color matching
- 60’ heated and filtered paint booth to accommodate oversized vehicles
- Hydraulic, full-length, wall-mounted man lifts for OEM-quality paint application
- DuPont (Axalta) base coat clear coat or high-solids single-stage polyurethane paint
- State-of-the-art bake oven for durable, top-quality finish
- Top-quality finishes meet or exceed OEM standards
- Custom vehicle refinish – Minor paint repair and simple striping to complete color changes/refinishes and custom paint designs
To learn more or to get a free estimate on your bus paint and graphics project, complete our online form , or call us at