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West Point Public Schools > District Office > Webpages > history  

History

HISTORY

West Point, Nebraska is a thriving agricultural community located in Northeast Nebraska along the Elkhorn River. Our location is very attractive to people of all ages and backgrounds as we are 30 minutes from Fremont, 45 minutes from Norfolk, 70 minutes from Omaha, and 90 minutes from Lincoln. West Point was originally names New Philadelphia by settlers who moved across the country from the east in search of a better way of life. Later, the name of the community was changed to West Point because the community was the western most point along the Elkhorn Valley. West Point has many past and present "local heroes" who carry on the 'can do' spirit and the values of hard work and a spirit of cooperation. West Point is proud of its' heritage and the families that have been here for three and four generations. Recently, West Point received "The Outstanding Community' distinction from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Diplomats.   

 

West Point Public Schools started in West Point in 1865.  Before the school was constructed, several rooms were rented for the students.  The first school was built 1866.  The school was far from big.  It was 22ft by 40ft and cost the village of West Point $1,600.  In 1880, the need for a larger school was a must.  They spent $10,159.73 for the new school located just east of the present day elementary.  Almost 40 years later a bigger elementary, high school, and library combination was built.  It was completed in 1922 and cost more than $200,000.  In the '60s, West Point was in need of a new building because overcrowding was a problem.  They had to put up temporary buildings on the playground to help solve the overcrowding.  In 1965 and 1966, votes for a new building failed.  A vote for a new building was held in 1969.  The vote passed with 54% approval since the state passed a law that year requiring only simple majority to pass.  Another vote to start building was held on Oct. of 1971.  The vote was 871 to 764 to build a junior/senior high school.  Classes in the new building started in the fall of 1974.  In 1990, a junior high wing was added.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

West Point is located in the heart of rich, high producing agricultural land. In addition, West Point and the surrounding area have a great deal of livestock production and cattle feeding operations. The community of West Point and the surrounding area includes 237 miles of city and rural property.

 

While the city of West Point is experiencing slow and steady growth, (the U.S. Census of 2000 reported an increase of slightly more than 400 persons from 1990), the demographics of the population has changed significantly in the last decade. Our Latino population has increased dramatically, in part because of employment opportunities at Tyson (IBP) and local migrant entities. During the 1990-91 school year, West Point Public Schools student population was comprised of less than 1% Latinos. Student population figures from the 2000-01 school year showed Latinos making up about 18% of our total enrollment. In the 2004-05 school year, the Latino population increased to 30% of the total student population. 

 

The community of West Point has embraced the diversity as we have an active Multi-Cultural Action Committee that has won praise from the Governor. West Point is also proud of the fact that we offer an Employer-Employee Forum to assist Latino families in helping make the transition to the American culture, particularly life in West Point.

 

EDUCATION

The West Point educational community is made up of three distinct entities who collaboratively work together to educate all area students:

1.      The Public Schools System (West Point, Beemer, and surrounding areas)

2.      The Catholic School System (Guardian Angels, PreK-8 and Central Catholic, 9-12)

3.      The Lutheran School System (St. Paul’s, PreK-8)  (9-12 students feed into WPPS)

 

SCHOOL DISTRICT

West Point Public Schools has an enrollment of approximately 700 students K-12.  This number has remained somewhat constant over the past 10 years.  Although the total number of students has remained constant, the make up of our District has not.  West Point has seen the ethnic change from nearly 100% Caucasian to a 50/50 split between Caucasian and Hispanic students. 

 

In addition to this ethnic change, West Point has also experienced a great increase in the number of Free/Reduced students.  Currently, the elementary lower socio-economic student population is in excess of 60%. 

 

These changes in student demographics have also brought about changes in philosophy for the District.  We have worked toward three sections per grade at the elementary level.  One of these sections is taught by a dually endorsed teacher (Elementary and Special Education).  This staffing change has reduced our student to teacher ratio from about 22:1, to 17:1.  We have also implemented a third counselor (grades 5-8) to assist in the many needs of the student body.

 

FACILITIES

The school district has an elementary attendance center which is comprised of a K-3 facility that was constructed in 1922 and a new Grade 4-6 building that opened in the Fall of 2004.  The facility for Grades 7-12 was completed in 1974.  In addition, voters approved a bond issue in November of 1989 that allowed for a $900,000 addition to the 7-12 building. The district also operates two auxiliary buildings at the high school site.  The first building is the District office and the second building has classrooms for Vocational Agriculture classes.  Each of the main instructional facilities has Local Area Networks throughout the building which provides Internet access for all students.  All of the buildings in the district are connected by fiber optic wiring so that the buildings can share computer servers.

 

The school district is committed to technology, with over 355 computers and seven computer servers for student and staff use.  A modern distance-learning classroom offers high school and college classes from other high schools and colleges throughout Nebraska.  West Point Public Schools also has a wireless lab in each building that consists of twenty-four laptop computers in each wireless lab.

 

BUSINESS

Because West Point and Cuming County are one of the few growing rural areas in Nebraska, the business community has a great deal to be proud of.  Like many other areas in Nebraska, the concern lies with the shrinking youth population.  As identified below, much of the business in the area is agriculturally based.

 

West Point has a diverse business community with agriculture at the base of the local economy. Agriculture related businesses include Tyson (IBP), Wimmer's Meat Products, West Point Dairy, and Grain States Soya. West Point has a strong retail presence with most of the buildings on the main street filled with viable, productive businesses ranging from men’s and women’s clothing to jewelry to hardware to boutiques. West Point citizens like to say we are a self-sufficient community with a wide variety of locally owned retail businesses and services. Wells Fargo, Farmers and Merchants, and Charter West also offer local residents plenty of banking choices.

 

West Point is fortunate to have outstanding media coverage of local and area events and activities. KTIC/KWPN Radio is a part of a three-station network that covers areas from northeast Nebraska to southwest Nebraska. The West Point News is a locally owned newspaper that is published and printed weekly. Finally, Cable One is the local cable  provider and provides West Point with a local access channel.

 

As stated earlier, West Point has many businesses that are very productive and contribute positively to the local economy. The largest employers include:

Name

Employees

Service

Franciscan Care Services

230

Medical care

Wimmer's Meat Products

125

Processed Meats

West Point Public Schools

108

Education

Valmont Coatings

65

Galvanizing

 

One of the finest qualities of people in West Point is their "can do" spirit. The community has produced several entrepreneurs in the past twenty years. Some of those businesses include: B&B Video Production, S&W Welding, Quality Printing, West Point Design, and Peterson Body Shop. These businesses continue to grow and expand due mostly to the determination and dedication to West Point and our surrounding area.

 

HEALTH CARE

West Point has a quality healthcare system that is second to none in a rural setting. St. Francis Memorial Hospital is a modern facility that offers health care in a progressive healthcare setting. The local medical staff includes four family practice physicians, two surgeons, three physician assistants and a family nurse practitioner. St. Francis Memorial Hospital is a fully accredited hospital with a 24-hour emergency room, two birthing rooms, two surgical suites, a large exercise area, and 15 acute care beds. The hospital has integrated numerous health services and now offers family practice and medical surgical care through the Dinklage Medical Clinic and satellite clinics in area communities.

 

The Rehabilitation Services department will be moving into a new addition in December, 2005.  Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and a community Wellness Center will be located in the new addition.  Home Health and Hospice are offered to meet the needs of patients who do not require hospitalization.  In addition, numerous specialist travel to the St. Francis Outpatient Clinic, including: Oncology, Orthopedics, Urology, Neurology, and Ear/Nose/Throat.

 

In addition to the hospital and clinic, West Point has three dentists, a chiropractic office, an optometrist, an audiologist, and two pharmacies. For senior citizens, West Point has St. Joseph's Retirement Community, which is a modern assisted living facility. The West Point Living Center is a full care nursing home facility for senior citizen.

 

RECREATION AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES

West Point has many fine recreational and leisure activities and annual events. Some of the annual events include a 4th of July BBQ that has lots of local and area entertainment, baseball tournaments, and a huge fireworks display. The "Last Fling `Til Spring" is the Midwest's largest car show and is held in town each September. Community arts groups also put on performances throughout the year. West Point is also proud to be the host for the Cuming County Fair each August.

 

Leisure activities include a modern library, swimming pool, a walking track through Wilderness Park, and many fine fishing and hunting opportunities. For recreational activities, the community has two parks that include ball fields for summer baseball and softball leagues for all ages. The parks also include playground equipment and sand volleyball courts. Many youth activities are sponsored by the Optimist Club throughout the year.