April 9, 2018

The St. James R-I School District is very pleased with the results of last week’s no tax rate increase bond issue election. We appreciate the vote of confidence from the patrons of the community and look forward to starting the renovation and building projects in the near future. Now that Prop K.I.D.S. overwhelmingly passed, it is the job of the Board of Education and administration to follow through with the plan presented to the community. This initiative gained momentum in the community when Dake | Wells Architecture presented the idea of consolidating the performing arts and old high school renovation projects. Building a new free standing performing arts facility on the east side of the high school was going to limit what we could do to the old high school building. Consolidating these two projects allowed us the opportunity to completely renovate the old high school building, which would include a new performing arts auditorium where the old gymnasium is presently located. We will also be building a new regulation size practice gymnasium in the open courtyard to replace the old gymnasium. The new early childhood facility is a very needed addition for our present preschool program. When completed, students and teachers will no longer be stationed in antiquated and cramped spaces. Most important, this new building will introduce 21st century learning spaces with the most modernized safety features.

There is much excitement in the air at St. James R-I School District. I continue to hear positive comments from students, parents, staff, and community members about the excitement and anticipation for these projects to begin.  Dake | Wells Architecture and the Board of Education presented a financially responsible plan that will meet all needs within our budgetary capabilities. All of the projects in the approved plan covered the three high need areas of early childhood, performing arts, and renovating the old high school building. Our work is not done. Dake | Wells Architecture is still in the process of completing the schematic design and we are hopeful to begin the early childhood facility this upcoming fall. There remains much to determine during the finalization of the schematic design phase in the coming weeks and months.

The Board of Education, administration, and staff would like to thank you, the voters, for supporting the renovation and building plans. We are very anxious and excited to get the ball rolling!