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R-7 School District Unveils New Compressed Natural Gas Public Fill Station
June 21, 2014
By Jay Mejia
The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District achieved its next green milestone by opening a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Public Fill Station located at 505 SE Transport Drive.
The Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 6 to unveil the public fill station. The project is part of the district’s Lease Purchase Initiatives project, according to Ron Cox, Director of Purchasing and Distribution Services for the R-7 School District.
“We planned the CNG project in 2010 as part of our fuel cost-containment and green initiatives,” Cox said. “Our fuel costs were going north of $1 million and we wanted to keep those costs in check while being environmentally friendly with clean energy.”
The district added 26 small buses using CNG energy in 2014 and 80 regular-size buses in 2013, roughly two-thirds of its entire fleet of buses using this type of fuel.
When complete, 149 vehicles will be using CNG, Cox said. Ten buses will remain on diesel fuel consumption since the CNG grid will not likely be fully operational until 2018 and the need remains for students to travel across the state, requiring existing fuel resources for long-distance transportation.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 Lease Purchase Initiatives include transition to school vehicles powered by CNG, purchase of a storage building, property for additional parking near the current R-7 Transportation Center, and construction of the CNG Public Fill Station.
Cox said the public fill station is also providing additional revenue for the district since the school district receives a royalty on retail CNG sales.
Portions of the savings from the 10-year lease-purchase initiatives will be used to fund technology infrastructure and equipment for school district students.
Kent Kirby of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce served as the master-of-ceremonies for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Other speakers included R-7 Superintendent Dr. David McGehee, City Councilmember Binney, Missouri Rep. Gary Cross, and Dr. Carolyn McKnight, chairperson of the Chamber Board of Directors.