South faculty reflect on building’s 30th anniversary

This is the Blue Springs South campus as it appeared when it first opened in 1992. Photo courtesy of Blue Springs South

This is the Blue Springs South campus as it appeared when it first opened in 1992. Photo courtesy of Blue Springs South

Olivia Svoboda

By Olivia Svoboda

The Jag

In 1991, the Vesper Campus was packed. Students were shoulder to shoulder as they squeezed through the hallways, attempting to get to their next class.

This is the Blue Springs South campus as it appeared when it first opened in 1992. Photo courtesy of Blue Springs South
This is South’s entrance, on the east side of the building, as it appeared after the school first opened. Today, the main entrance is on the southwest corner of the building. Photo courtesy of Blue Springs South
This shot of the South campus looks north, and includes the YMCA near the bottom. That building was purchased by the school district and is now the South Aquatic Center. Photo courtesy of Blue Springs South.

“At the time, the kids who were freshmen and sophomores went to the Vesper Campus of Blue Springs High School, which is the Freshman Center for Blue Springs now. Then the 11th and 12th graders went to Blue Springs High School, and both campuses were super crowded. It was time for a second high school,” Stephanie Ladd said, the only teacher still at South who has seen the building’s entire history.

And so, a new high school was built.

In 1992, Butler Dwyer Junior High School was transformed into Blue Springs South. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors were welcomed into the building, while seniors finished their high school careers at Blue Springs High School.

South Spanish teacher Heath Creek was in the graduating class of 1996, the first class to attend the new high school for a full four years.

“When they announced that there was going to be a new high school, and that we were going to be at the new high school, it was a little disappointing at first because all your life you dreamed of being a Wildcat, and it was like, ‘Oh, now you’re going to be a Jaguar.’ But that didn’t last very long,” Creek said.

South’s first students were eager to begin making the school’s history. They had the opportunity to choose South’s school colors and mascot. One student even got to write the alma mater.

Forensics and debate teacher Katie Rucinski, who was part of the second graduating class, felt honored to play a part in South’s genesis.

“Those first three classes to graduate from here really felt like this was our school, and we took a lot of pride in how we represented it, what others thought about it, and how we took care of it and the people within it,” she said.

Without seniors in the building, competitions were difficult. It didn’t take long for Blue Springs South to make itself known, though. Within a few years, South became a well-known school throughout the area.

“If you go to the gym, and you look at all the flags, and you see all those things from the 90s, those were those first kids that came through South and set that tone for your generation,” Creek said.

The banners that hang around the gym celebrate South’s accomplishments throughout the years in various sports.

As the years went on, South grew, both in population and in building size. Many renovations have been made to the building, some that most students are unaware of. For example, the downstairs hallway, which hosts the social studies classes, was used as a basement before the space was needed for students.

Blue Springs South had a huge makeover in 2008-09. The classrooms that now host the art classes used to be the home of South’s library, until the current media center was added. The science hallway, with the 00s classrooms, was also added. Additionally, more space for locker rooms, wrestling, and choir was added to the building.

Then, there was the addition of the freshman wing, which most South students are aware of. In 2019, the freshman wing replaced South’s soccer field. The black box was also added, along with a renovation to the nearby lobby and a relocation of the Jag Den.

The exterior of Blue Springs South was not left unattended either. The baseball and softball fields were added in 2002, and the football stadium was added in 2005. The soccer stadium was also added in 2018.

“We didn’t have a football stadium; we had a soccer stadium. And Blue Springs High School shared our soccer stadium, and we shared the football stadium with Blue Springs, which meant we also didn’t have a track. We had a practice facility here for track, but we didn’t get to have any games. Now we have a nice, big, all-weather turf field for football and band, as well as a soccer stadium,” Ladd said.

The Blue Springs School District also bought the YMCA, which is now known as the Aquatic Center.

Despite the changes South has gone through, it still has the same spirit it had 30 years ago. Students still cheer for the blue and green, just as they have always done.

“A lot of the teachers have changed, but I feel like the overall culture of South, like the sense of community, the togetherness, that has always stayed the same. It’s really cool to see it from the teachers’ eyes now, from a different perspective. It just makes me very proud,” Creek said.