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SJSD unveils blueprint of potential new high school

Video drafts show plenty of study nooks, natural light and open space.

Posted: Mar 9, 2021 4:47 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2021 3:08 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With less than a month until the April election, the St. Joseph School District gave voters a glimpse at what the future of the district could look like- if they vote yes on the $107 million school bond. 

Monday night, the district unveiled the answer to the biggest question about the school bond issue, what the potential new high school and renovations will look like. 

SJSD providing voters a 3D walkthrough of the American Family Campus transformed into a 21st century high school. The renovations rivaling a university layout. Video drafts show plenty of study nooks, natural light and open space.  

“We believe this will increase academic opportunities and possibilities for our students and our staff,” said Dr. Doug Van Zyl, SJSD superintendent. 

DLR Group, the architects for this project, also drew up drafts for a renovated Central High School. Both video concepts show a modern layout not yet seen before in the school district. 

Dr. Van Zyl said, “That’s what we want across our whole district is to have facilities that our students, our staff and our families are proud to walk into and feel taken care of, feel like there is a good investment and return on their investment.”

During the special board meeting, voters also found out what school their student(s) would go to if the bond passes. The district released a school boundary draft along with a list of schools with an unclear future, seven in total. 

"We do have more rooftops, more seats than we currently need for the number of students. So, how can we take those dollars that we’re investing in maintenance to those facilities and invest those back into the classroom, staff and our students?” said Dr. Van Zyl.

Dr. Van Zyl said these blueprints are designed to give voters a better idea on what they're voting yes or no for on the April Ballot, but said nothing is permanent yet.  

“We poured the concrete, but the concrete’s not hard and so there’s still some opportunity to shape it and mold it if we need to,” said Dr. Van Zyl.

A question regarding the purchase of the Aquatic Park was brought up at the special board meeting. If possible, Dr. Van Zyl said the district would be interested in acquiring the waterpark near Central High School to have all of Central's facilities in one place- similarly to the mock up of the American Family campus. Dr. Van Zyl said the district would have to talk with the city. 

KQ2 raised the question with St. Joseph Mayor, Bill McMurray. He said the Aquatic Park is not for sale. 

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Today will be another warm and sunny day with highs back in the low to mid 90s. The heat index will be slightly higher today due to the increased humidity. Temperatures will start to rapidly warm on Thursday and Friday with highs in the upper 90s. Heat index values both days will likely be near or at the triple digits. Rain chances will start to increase Friday night into the weekend as a cold front approaches our area. Temperatures will cool into the lower 90s for the weekend with highs back in the 80s for the beginning of next week.
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