As Fort Osage High School principal Scott Moore and activities director Ryan Schartz climb the steps of the new bleachers, up to the expanded press box, a huge grin appears on the popular principal’s face.
When asked if he felt like a new father, as he looked at the project – which is part of a successful $11.37 million bond issue that did not increase the district’s debt service tax levy – Moore shook his head no.
“There are too many people involved in this cumulative effort for me to feel like a proud father, although I could not be prouder of the final product,” Moore said. “During the construction, I met workers who were graduates of Fort Osage High School, and they took as much ownership as I do.
“The impact this is going to have on our community, our football team, our track teams, our soccer teams, our marching band, our P.E. classes – they are all going to receive direct benefits, and that’s what makes it so exciting.”
Along with the first artificial turf field in school history, there will be an eight-lane track, new bleachers on both sides of the stadium, new restrooms and concession areas on both sides of the stadium and a new modular press box that dwarfs its predecessor.
A new scoreboard, speakers and 25-second clocks in both end zones will complete the project, that began Nov. 16.
Everything is on schedule for a preseason football exhibition scrimmage Aug. 17 and the Aug. 24 home opener against Raytown South.
“It looks great, doesn’t it?” asked Schartz, who along with Moore has photographed the stadium’s progress. “We have such a great superintendent in Dr. (Jason) Snodgrass, and he knew the impact synthetic turf would have on all aspects of the programs at Fort Osage – from the marching band and P.E. classes to the football and soccer teams.
“It’s for the greater good, and it can have an impact in so many ways 24/7. I think it will have the biggest benefit for the band – they can practice out there whenever they want. And it will have a big benefit for our track and soccer teams and, of course, Coach (Brock) Bult’s football team.”
Funds from the bond issue were also used to fund several additions or improvements to facilities across the district, including a new early childhood center, which will be next to Elm Grove Elementary.
Both Moore and Schartz mentioned the new eight-lane track, which will enable the high school to host premier events like district and sectional meets.
“Our track teams – especially the seniors on our track teams – had to sacrifice the most last year,” Moore said. “They couldn’t practice on their own track because of the construction.
“We want them all to come back and see the new track. We never heard a complaint from any member of the track coaching staff or our boys and girls teams last year, and we want them to see the new track, which was a result of their sacrifice.”
Moore, a big proponent of social media, has posted regular videos he shot with his personal drone of the progress of the new stadium.
“I keep hearing on social media from graduated seniors who say they wish they could have been a part of this, to students who are coming back this year saying they can’t wait to get to school to check it all out,” Moore said. “Once they see it, I think they will know why we are all so excited.”