The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s transition to school buses and light-duty utility vehicles powered by compressed natural gas was recently recognized at the national level. The local school district received one of 12 Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) Achievement Awards Nov. 12 during the organization’s North American Conference and Expo, held in Kansas City.
The NGVAchievement Awards recognize national innovators and early adopters for their outstanding leadership and vision in advancing natural gas as a vehicular fuel, said NVGAmerica officials. Each year, NGVAmerica members submit nominations recognizing their customers, partners and industry advocates for their contributions to further grow the CNG- vehicle industry. Award winners are selected by NGVAmerica after a thorough review of members’ submissions.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 Achievement Award was based on “Outstanding CNG Fleet and Station Program,” and highlights of the R-7 program were featured during the awards program.
During the 2013-14 school year, the R-7 School District launched an initiative transitioning the district’s bus fleet as well as utility vehicles to compressed natural gas. Buses powered by compressed natural gas are much quieter and cleaner than the traditional diesel-powered buses in addition to being less expensive to operate in terms of fuel costs.
“Our school district projects that over the course of the next decade, we will cut transportation costs by about $10.5 million, with a portion of the fuel savings paying for new technology infrastructure in our school system,” said Dr. McGehee, R-7 superintendent. “This infrastructure is especially vital as teachers and students use more and more digital devices in day-to-day classroom lessons, school-wide projects and extracurricular activities.”
Lee’s Summit R-7 transports 12,000 students each day, translating into more than 4.1 million rides annually on 151 school buses. As of this fall, 106 buses – or approximately 71 percent of the district’s bus fleet – have been replaced with CNG-powered vehicles.
The Lee’s Summit R-7 initiative is the largest school bus transition to CNG in the nation. Over the next few years, the district is acquiring nearly 150 new CNG school buses and more than 46 CNG-powered light-duty vehicles. In addition, the district’s program includes a new public CNG fill station, located at 505 NE Transport Drive in Lee’s Summit. Sales at the fill station, which opened in spring 2014, provide the district with a royalty on fuel sold and is attracting numerous private-vehicle operators as well as national and regional commercial transportation fleets.
“Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is being recognized today because they did their homework when choosing a predictably priced fuel that significantly reduces costs, allowing them to put these savings back to where it matters most, in the classroom,” said officials at NGVAmerica.
Ron Cox (center) of Lee’s Summit R-7 accepts the award from Doug Horne (left) of Clean Vehicle Education Foundation and Matthew Godlewski, NGVAmerica president.