Missouri Fuels for Schools projects to hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Construction is complete and six schools in southern Missouri are ready to operate their new biomass thermal energy heating systems.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) provided grants to the schools funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) and administered by the U.S. Forest Service, according to MDC Forest Management Chief John Tuttle.

To celebrate completion of the projects, the public is invited to attend the following ribbon-cutting ceremonies:

  • Gainesville R-V School District on Monday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. (From Hwy. 160, go north on Hwy. 181 one mile.)
  • Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty High School on Monday, Oct. 24, at 2 p.m. (From Hwy. 60 three miles east of Mountain View, go south on Hwy. T for one block, go right on the blacktop 1/8 mile.)
  • Eminence R-I Elementary School on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. (From Eminence go west on Hwy. 106 one mile.)
  • Southern Reynolds County R-II School District on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. (From the intersection of Hwy. 21 and Hwy. 106, go west on Hwy. 106 for three blocks to the four-way stop, go left three blocks, go left at the Baptist Church and go up the hill to the school.)
  • Steelville R-III School District on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. (As you come into Steelville from the north on Hwy. 19, the school is on the right.)
  • Perry County 32 School District on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 10 a.m. (The school is at 326 College St. in Perryville. From the court house square in old downtown, go south on Main St. three blocks and left at the school sign.)

Tuttle said the MDC is pleased to see construction completed.

“As these schools operate their boiler systems, they’ll use woody biomass from local and private forest land to heat their facilities, we’ll see the new technology help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, reduce energy costs, create or retain jobs and support healthy forests and the state’s forest industry,” Tuttle said.

He added that the Fuels for Schools projects will help create a stronger market for woody material historically considered waste, such as unhealthy or small-diameter trees and wood debris left from logging, which currently have little or no commercial value.

The projects support forest health, a key part of MDC’s mission, by making it economical to thin overcrowded forest stands and remove diseased and insect-infested trees, Tuttle said.

For more information on the Missouri Fuels for Schools program, go online to http://missourifuelsforschools.totorcd.org or contact Missouri Fuels for Schools Project Coordinator Peter Maki at 417-967-0676 or petermaki@totorcd.org.