WESTON, Mo. — West Platte School District and City of Weston officials took their time and gave the moment time to resonate.
After about 10 minutes, all of the special guests cut a piece of the lengthy ribbon, spanning 7 yards on either side of midfield on the new Rudolph Eskridge Stadium turf at West Platte High School. Then the head official for the Bluejays football game blew his whistle and ordered the assembled crowd to vacate with lightning in the area and storms approaching.
The dedication and grand opening ceremony just did manage to finish Friday, Aug. 19, although weather forced postponement of the matchup with Central Academy of Excellence to the following day.
While other schools moved kickoffs up in an attempt to beat the storms, West Platte held to its planned 7:30 p.m. start to accommodate the tours of the district’s new facilities and the planned festivities.
The district’s construction project started in June of 2015.
Work continues in the phased project, which comes in at a total cost of about $7 million. The master plan includes moving the West Platte School District Central office adjacent to the new stadium, the construction of a new press box, locker rooms and concession stand, expanding the parking area at the elementary school, construction of a dedicated maintenance building and expansion and renovations to the high school.
Members of the community and West Platte alumni received free admission to the football game with tours given of the new science labs, band room expansion and life skills facility at the high school and the new central office, playground and multi-purpose rooms at the stadium complex.
Scheduled to be the first athletic contest on the new Joe Collison Field, the football game served as a chance to dedicate the new stadium, located just to the north of the old one.
West Platte Board of Education president Ron Rowe and West Platte superintendent John Rinehart helped thank those involved in the work while introducing more than 20 honored guests — school board members, district officials, elected officials, members of the construction crew and students. The scoreboard in the background displays the motto,
“Preserving the past, building the future,” which became a theme for the remarks made to the crowd.
The brick architecture with arches and columns was a nod to the historic past of the campus in Weston, while also supplying state-of-the art accommodations to students in a small community.
“Tonight we give thanks for being a community blessed with resources that enable us to provide our children and grandchildren with the best education in the best facilities available,” Rowe said. “The beautiful facilities we see tonight are the result and culmination of the efforts and ideas of not only the current board of education, administrators and faculty but of many of those that have gone before us.
“These facilities would not be possible without the support of the entire Weston community.”
Some of West Platte’s campus remains under construction, but work is scheduled to be completed by the middle of October.