Southwest buys bus, convection oven

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Southwest schools will soon be getting a brand new school bus to add to its fleet, as well as a new convection oven for the elementary cafeteria.

Bob Walker, superintendent, said the purchases will help to provide reliable transportation and to cook meals for school children.

Walker said new buses are expensive, with the district spending $80,296 on its new bus, but the school is able to buy the bus due to good budgeting. The International brand school bus was purchased from Midwest Transit Equipment in Nixa, Missouri.

"We had one vendor bid come in at just over $81,000, so we chose to go with Midwest," Walker said. "We try to replace our buses at least once a year. We've chosen to get a new one each year and rotate the oldest buses out. With any equipment, when repairs become too frequent, you have to replace them, and that's where we're at.

"I think the key in a school our size is to have money in your building fund. There's not a lot of money, so we have to save it. In this case, we will be able to write a check and purchase the bus outright."

Walker said the school always tries to plan ahead on bigger ticket items, and both purchases were approved.

"We review our capital projects schedule each year and try to have a plan to get things done," he said. "Our philosophy and strategy with our buses is that we've got 13 routes, and if we can buy a new bus once a year, we can keep them in circulation for the next 12-13 years."

Walker said the International brand school bus is a basic stock model that will hold 71 passengers, and it will be delivered the first part of July. The old bus will most likely be sold as a salvage vehicle.

"The school may take bids from the public and will sell it as a salvage vehicle for anywhere from approximately $1,500-$3,000," Walker said.

Walker said the oven was to the point it needed replacing, too, as it was over 20 years old and part of it was not working.

"The oven we had dates back to pre-nineties," Walker said. "It is a two-decker oven, with two ovens on top of each other. One was still working OK, but the other half was shut down most of the year because it wasn't working. We certainly got our use out of it, but it's time for a new one."

The new oven will be purchased from Tankersley Food Service at a cost of $4,850.

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