LPSB learns RHS Eco-Car Building will hopefully be in place to start new school year

Lincoln Parish School Board members are shown during Tuesday night’s LPSB meeting looking at pictures at ongoing construction at the site of Ruston’s High School’s new Eco-Car Building. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)

By T. Scott Boatright

A new Eco-Car building for Ruston High School is reportedly on track to be ready for use by the time the 2021-22 school year begins.

That was the news James Payton gave to Lincoln Parish School Board Members during Tuesday night’s monthly meeting held at the Central Office building.

RHS is the only high school in Louisiana with an Eco-Car team, joining Louisiana Tech and LSU as the only Eco-Car programs in the state and one of only 30 high schools in the nation to offer the program.

With the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each spring the RHS Eco-Car team participates in the Shell Eco-Car Marathon, competing against high schools and colleges from all over the world. Many RHS Eco-Car team members have moved on to major in fields such as engineering, marketing and management thanks in part to the variety of experiences they receive from being a member of Bearcat Motorsports.

The RHS Eco-Car team traveled last month to Kansas City, with one car finishing fifth and the other taking seventh place in an electric car competition with finishes based on how long/far the vehicle ran without being recharged.

Ruston High School’s original Eco-Car building was destroyed by the EF3 tornado that ripped through parts of the city on April 25, 2019.`

LPSB New Construction Coordinator James Payton said Tuesday the foundation for the new building is already in place and that he expects the new metal building that will house the facility to be delivered on June 15.

“The construction company has told me that right now they expect to be able to finish the building by July 30, meaning it will hopefully be in place and ready for the upcoming school year if everything goes just right,” Payton said. “The company building it has gone above standards for strength and durability while planning and working on this building. It’s a very well-built building so far.”

The LPSB also moved Tuesday to grant permission for Payton to declare three school buses as surplus property.

“We have three buses no longer in use for us,” Payton said. “Three seems to be the magic number this year. We got three new buses, we’re moving three down off the activity fleet to be spare buses and we’ll take three of the oldest buses and surplus them. One of those has a blown head gasket and will be good for someone who likes to fix things while the other two have been running recently, so $1,500 is the minimum bid we’ll ask for because I know I can get $1,500 when I roll up to the scrap yards. So we’re asking for permission to begin the process to go ahead and dispose of them.”

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