June 7, 2021
Published: June 7, 2021
The St. James R-I School District is committed to the community, our children and the spaces in which they learn and grow. We are also committed to serving the hard-working, dedicated district residents who entrust us to be responsible stewards of their resources and children’s future. The past couple years have been challenging, but also exciting and rewarding. We, along with our partners on the construction project, have worked tirelessly to deliver on the construction promises from three years ago. Although we have encountered several bumps along the way, we finally completed the long awaited building projects. As a reminder, we had three main items selected by our patrons to complete. These three items were to equip and furnish a performing arts auditorium at the high school, construct an early childhood at the elementary, and make high school renovation improvements. These projects were equally important to our patrons and we are excited that all three are now complete and being used by our students and community.
Before these projects started, we understood the community had high expectations, and in turn, we had high expectations to provide the best projects possible within our financial means. We expended much energy over the past couple years working through value engineering, unwanted delays, and community frustrations. Through all of these challenges, we kept a balanced focus on the present and the future, most importantly keeping a long term perspective as the best course of action. We value engineered the scope of the project as much as possible without losing functionality so that these completed projects would be able to provide the essential needs of the district. Although the final cost of the project ended up being more than we originally anticipated, the District was able to set aside contingency funds for overages so we would have buildings we could be proud of and able to appropriately support the educational needs of all St. James R-I students for years to come.
The City of St. James was extremely helpful and supportive in identifying ways to control costs while still performing the necessary infrastructure improvements to support the impact of the building additions. The District also worked with financial consultant Larry Hart & Company to identify the best way to fund the building projects. We are confident we will keep the district on a solid financial footing beyond construction and throughout all of the present challenges associated with educating children during a global pandemic.
To see the satisfaction and pride on the many faces who have been able to attend the end-of-year events in the performing arts auditorium is a priceless feeling. Through all of the challenges and frustrations of construction, the final product of the projects have already proven to help solve many of the challenges that have been facing the district. It is truly a great time to be a St. James Tiger!