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Old church van a is good buy for USD 428
Great Bend USD 428 has purchased this 2001 GMC van from a local church.

It’s an old story – a vehicle that was only driven to church on Sundays becomes a bargain for a lucky buyer.

That was almost the case with the 2001 GMC Savana 3500 cargo van that Great Bend USD 428 is buying from a local church, according to Superintendent Khris Thexton. The school board approved the purchase for $10,000, which he said is close to the Blue Book value.

“We were approached by a trustee from one of the local churches in town,” Thexton said. “You know they always joke about the vehicle you drove to church – well, this is the vehicle they drove to church; they used it for their preschool to haul kids back and forth.”

The 15-passenger van has 63,000 miles on it and has been well-maintained by its owners at the First United Methodist Church in Great Bend. The church found it could not be insured because children cannot be transported legally in a 15-passenger van. “Because they can’t have it insured, they did not see a need to have that anymore.”

After the church offered the 23-year-old van to the school district, Thexton sent Transportation & Grounds Director Cody Schmidt to look at it. It is legal to transport adults (but not students) in a 15-passenger van but in this case the district will use it as a maintenance vehicle.

“Being on a full-ton frame, he said it would be perfect for his mowing crew,” he said. “This really fits a need that we have.” The van can pull a trailer with mowers, and with the rear seats removed it can carry weed eaters and other tools.

It takes three vehicles to move the equipment and the workers around but with the van they will only need one vehicle, Assistant Superintendent John Popp said. The district will be able to remove at least one older vehicle from its fleet. This is outside of the fleet management contract the district has for newer vehicles, he explained.

“It helps us in that we get (rid of) some old, very decrepit vehicles. This one replaces one if not two, and then we can move forward with those vehicles that we’re getting rid of – they don’t have any equity in them.”