Architects present aerial view of potential new SJSD high school

“If American Family is chosen, we can provide something that this community can be proud of,” Chris Hess, Project Executive with McCownGordon Construction said.

Posted: Mar 16, 2021 5:35 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2021 12:15 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tuesday, St. Joseph voters received a birds-eye view on what the potential new high school could look like. 

High above the sky, design firm DLR Group presented a conceptual 3D flyover showing the vision on transforming the American Family Campus into the district newest high school. The St. Joseph School District is moving towards right-sizing by converting into a two high school city as enrollment continues to decline. 

“All the high schools that we’re doing today look like this,” said Kevin Greischar, Principal Architect for DLR Group. 

School grounds show a brand new gymnasium built behind the high school. Separating the gym from the school, a large water feature. A true 21st century high school architects believe will attract students and families to the community. 

“It will be something special. We know it because we’ve done this and we’ve seen the look on teachers and students faces when they go into a new school. It’s unbelievable. That’s part of why we do it,” said Chris Hess, Project Executive with McCownGordon Construction.

Inside the model of the repurposed building sits a professional atmosphere with a focus on collaborative spaces for students. Designers said creating a space for teachers and students to feel valued boosts work ethic. 

“10 years ago, we did Joplin High School and the first thing I heard from students when they came into the building is they felt like they were in a college or junior college environment,” said Greischar. 

Construction managers said transforming the existing infrastructure into a high school is a better jumping off point than building new from the ground up by saving the district time and money. Hess said repurposing will shave off $6 million and eight months in construction time. 

“A lot of the dollars are going towards the actual interior of the space- better programs, higher levels of finishes. Rather than a parking lot or a sewer line where no one reaps the reward in. It’s just sort of required,” said Hess. 

92 acres of land gives SJSD room to expand and grow, adding on other features. Designers for the project said adding this modern high school will strengthen the heart of the community, the school district. 

“If American Family is chosen, we can provide something that this community can be proud of,” said Hess. 

If the $107 million school bond passes on April 6th, 75% of the money will go towards the new high school. The rest of the funds will be allocated to the existing three high schools to add and update the HVAC systems.

Central High School, the second school proposed to remain a high school, would also see collaborative spaces for students and a revamp on it's athletics department. Architects would include new turf and track. 

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We have had rain off and on this Friday afternoon across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. Scattered showers will continue off and on through the evening and overnight hours. A few showers could linger through the day Saturday but the rain will be lighter than today and much more scattered. Temperatures will slowly start to warm Sunday into Monday as sunshine returns and conditions start to dry out. Another cold front is headed our way Monday night and that will bring us a chance for rain and possibly some snow into Tuesday morning as the colder air surges into our area. Temperatures look to stay unseasonably cool through the rest of the next week.
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