Early in my first full-time ministry position, I realized that while I love music and computers, I needed a creative outlet that didn’t involve me sitting at an instrument or a computer. After exploring options, I discovered a love for designing and building practical things around the house. Fast-forward more than a decade, and I have updated a home, built sheds, remodeled campers, and converted two school buses into fully functional RVs!
The most interesting of my construction projects was the conversion of the school bus. We purchased the vehicle in September 2018 from a school district in Illinois (through Midwest Transit in Indianapolis). A 2003 Bluebird, transit style (flat nose), with a side exit for handicap access and luggage bays underneath, we were excited by the possibilities. What we didn’t realize was the size of the vehicle. Based on window sizes, I calculated a length of about 33 feet; however, when I saw it for the first time, I realized we had purchased a 39-foot vehicle!
From September until the following May, we worked almost every day. Since this was my second Skoolie build, I was able to learn from mistakes made on the first, so this build was far superior in many ways. We finished a week before a beach trip to Florida at the end of May 2019, and the Skoolie served us well on that trip!
Our bus has an air conditioning unit in the back half (a second one will be installed near the front someday!), has running water with 46-gallon freshwater tank and two waste tanks underneath. We have a 12-volt system (with three large batteries) for all the LED lights and the water pump, and a 110AC setup for the power outlets and the AC Units. The stove and furnace are propane, with the tanks in the other luggage bay.
The galley is split with about 8 feet of counter space which includes a massive sink and the propane stove. The fridge is a residential mini fridge (110AC) which is much cheaper than an RV refrigerator, and while it is small, the microwave meets our needs.
The living space includes an “L” shaped sofa with hidden seatbelts available for the children, a fold down table and two chairs, a cabinet, and a rather significant amount of open floor space.
The children’s bunk room has two beds (75×25), four bins on a floor-level shelf, and enough floor space to play and change clothes.
A hallway with two closets and a bathroom leads back to the master bedroom. One closet allows for hanging items and the other has four large shelves (each are 18×24). The bathroom includes a toilet and residential sink, with the shower separated on the other side of the hallway.
We designed the master bedroom to support a full-size bed with a regular residential mattress. The old handicap door provides an excellent exit or open space for our bedroom.
The bays are wonderful for storage, and the airhorn can be great fun! I did all of the construction, plumbing, electrical, etc., and Kiel put in the beautiful touch!