A little more than a year after demolition took down portions of the old North Platte Junior High, a ribbon cutting was held for the new building on Monday, Aug. 6.
Superintendent Karl Matt and junior high/high school principal Michelle Johnson both spoke at the event that started at 6 p.m. with the band playing the school fight song.
Each administrator talked to the crowd of about 50 and then two North Platte Junior High students, Ashton Shepardson and Olivia Rogers, cut the ceremonial ribbon.
“There was a lot of excitement and a great turnout, people were excited for what they saw,” Matt said.
The district patrons then made their way into the remodeled building, whose history dates to 1930 when it served as Dearborn High School. It later served as the original North Platte High School and then became the junior high after the current high school addition was built on campus. Other additions on the junior high date to 1955 and 1963. The gymnasium was constructed in 1963, while the agriculture classrooms were built in 1955.
The old main entrance with the word Platte County and a stone showing construction in 1930 were preserved and will be placed outside of the new entrance. An information board will be added to tell the history of the old building.
A no-tax-increase issue was placed on the April 2017 ballot and the $6.2 million project was passed and led the way for a handful of projects that were estimated to cost $6.65 million, the difference being covered by a Missouri Department of Energy Grant.
The project completion date was July 18 and since then the school and the contractor, Universal Construction, Co., have been working on the punch list to get everything finalized. The design of the project was completed by Incite Design Studios. Both companies had representatives present at the ribbon cutting.
“We are pretty excited,” Matt said. “It was a two-year process to get to this point and it is very exciting. The kids are excited to be there.”
The teachers — nine of them in the junior high — will report on Monday and start to get the rooms set up for students on Aug. 16. There are expected to be 160 students this year, between sixth and eighth grade.
The revamped office will include a room for the school resource officers to monitor who enters either entrance on the campus. A computer room and technology center is ready to go with new computers, while the family and consumer science classroom has top of the line ranges and a kitchen aide in each station. An emphasis was put on making sure the two buildings flow together well and that the brick exterior matched, as well.
“I’m very excited to get the kids in their new environment,” Johnson said. “It will have a direct effect on the kids and what they do. There will be a sense of pride.”