The name change will honor Dr. Ralph Scott, who was the Monett R-1 School District superintendent when the career center opened.
Current Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said members of the Monett R-1 Board of Education had talked for years about recognizing Scott, who served as the district's superintendent from 1965 to 1987. Scott's predecessor, E.E. Camp, served even longer, from 1941 to 1965, and the gymnasium built under his watch still bears his name, the E.E. Camp Gymnasium on Ninth Street.
"Board members never decided what would be an appropriate recognition for Dr. Scott," Jungmann said. "They feel this is the appropriate time, on a facility based on his passion for the program."
The state of Missouri introduced vocational technical schools in Scott's first year as superintendent, and he signed Monett up to participate.
"We had one of the first three vocational centers in the state," Jungmann said. "The name says a lot about his vision for the potential to impact the community and his foresight."
Interest in renaming the Southwest Area Career Center arose out of confusion stemming from the state renaming its local employment bureau as the Missouri Career Center. SWACC director Russell Moreland, two school board members and representatives of the faculty and staff looked at different names that would still capture the vision of SWACC's mission. The committee offered three ideas to the school board, which chose to honor Scott.
A dedication ceremony will be held in the fall. Signage will be changed then.
Scott had a long and active career in education and in the Monett community. He came to Monett as a teacher in the 1951-52 school year as a science teacher at the high school and junior college. He left to teach in the St. Louis County and Cabool school districts, returning to Monett in 1957, teaching science and serving as head football, basketball and track coach before becoming superintendent.
As an educator, Scott continued to teach adult basic education and college classes with Southwest Missouri State University until 1992. He served as president of the Missouri Association of School Administrators and on several state panels.
Within the Monett community, Scott has served on the boards of many organizations, including the Monett Lions Club, the First United Methodist Church, the Ozark Festival Orchestra, the Monett Community Foundation and the Monett City Council's Advisory Committee. He was a recipient of the Monett Chamber of Commerce's Community Service Award in 1988.
"The Career Center was a huge step forward for education in Monett," Jungmann said. "It impacted thousands of kids and all 14 communities that send students here for classes. It will be a benefit to the community for decades to come. The board is really excited about the opportunity to honor Dr. Scott in this way."