Waynesville, Fort Leonard Wood community leaders dedicate upgraded Waynesville Middle School

Brian Hill
U.S. Army Fort Leonard Wood
Fort Leonard wood senior leaders including Maj. Gen. James Bonner (right), Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, MSCoe and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena, and Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, were on hand at the ceremony to highlight the school district’s importance to the Fort Leonard Wood community. Brian Vernon (center), Waynesville Middle School’s new principal, gave a tour of the upgraded facility.

The Waynesville R-VI School District held a ribbon-cutting dedication ceremony and open house on Aug. 9 to celebrate the completion of an improvement project for Waynesville Middle School.

The two-phase project included the addition of a two-story academic wing that was completed in 2018, with four dedicated science, technology, engineering and math classrooms and laboratories, along with core classrooms — language arts and social studies — and dedicated classrooms for special education, reading assistance, foreign languages, computer technology and health classes.

The first-phase additions also included a larger cafeteria and kitchen, a more modern library and media center, and a physical education wing.

The newly completed second phase includes a new band room, more special education classrooms, a new stairwell and elevator, administrative offices and a more secure front entrance.

During his remarks, District Superintendent — and former social studies teacher — Dr. Brian Henry offered a brief history of the facility. He said children had been educated on the site since the Roubidoux School was built there in 1957.

The building became Waynesville High School from 1959 until the end of 2003, when the current high school was completed.

“For 60 years, this facility served us well, but it was obviously time for an upgrade,” he said. “So, three years ago, we opened our nearly 120,000-square-foot academic wing, and today, we officially open our new front entrance and remodeled areas.”

Henry said “with the greatest pleasure” the improved school is dedicated to the education of current and future middle-school students.

“May all who enter here be prepared and empowered to become individual lifelong learners, good citizens and leaders,” he said.

Waynesville Middle School, which includes seventh and eighth grades, has approximately 920 students. Approximately three out of every four students in the district are what’s called military impacted.

Fort Leonard Wood senior leaders — including Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena, and Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander — were on hand at the ceremony to highlight the school district’s importance to the Fort Leonard Wood community.

Maj. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, speaks at the dedication ceremony to open the upgraded Waynesville Middle School. Photo by Steve Standifird, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

Bonner called the new facility “a monumental achievement” for Waynesville and the Fort Leonard Wood community.

“You have every reason to be proud of yourselves, your leadership and your teamwork,” Bonner said. “Your forward thinking and collective collaboration are very admirable and undoubtedly send a very strong message to Army leaders about your commitment to the children and families that you serve. Your team exemplifies, ‘Leading the way every day’ … you are also living out our top priority, which is putting people first.”

Brian Vernon, Waynesville Middle School’s new principal, said participating in the dedication of the facility is “especially meaningful” to him as he attended high school there.

“I want to thank my predecessor, Michele Sumter, who, along with students, met with the architects and shared their vision for what this facility could become,” he said.

“This beautiful facility and the capabilities it will provide for years to come are just one example of your passion and your care for our families and children,” Bonner said. “We truly want to say thank you for all you do — on a daily basis — to improve family readiness and to help us achieve mission success.”

An artist's rendering of the improved Waynesville Middle School, which was dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house event Aug. 9.