CARTERSVILLE — By the end of the year, Bartow County Schools’ transportation employees should have a brand-new home.

Construction has begun on a new $6.5 million transportation complex that will replace the old bus barn on the corner of Joe Frank Harris Park-way and Fire Tower Road in Cartersville.

Workers began clearing the wooded area of the 9-acre site around Jan. 4 and started tearing down the old Cass High School gym and the building next to it that was used as a field house last week to make room for the complex, which will include a new shop, office building and driveways, according to Director of Maintenance and Construction Pankaj Daiya.

Once the new facility is fully functional, the old shop, trailers and drive-way also will be demolished.

“New bus lifts will give us the ability to better service our computerized buses,” Director of Transportation Jody Elrod said. “All operations will be under one building, including training. There will be a lot more storage space for parts, exceptional education equipment and other items. Also, instead of hand-washing buses, we will have a new bus wash area so we can keep our fleet looking like new.”

The new facility will be the base of operations for the system’s 164 transportation employees — 147 of them bus drivers — and 190 buses, according to Chief Human Resources and Operations Officer Macy Defnall.