March 29, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

High School to host open house tonight

Tonight the community can see what $6.75 million in upgrades looks like.


St. Joseph-Ogden High School is hosting an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The community can see the new auditorium, weight room and wrestling facility. The upgrades also included a geothermal project for the 1926 part of the building.


“This is being paid for with a combination of bond money, sales tax funds, and health/life/safety funds,” said Superintendent Brian Brooks.


Brooks said there are a few reasons the district thought these particular upgrades were important.
“We really felt that our fine arts and our wrestling programs needed their own space in order for those programs to thrive,” he said. “Sharing that space in the old gym was doable, but it did hinder each program.”


The former space was not a great space for drama productions, Brooks said.


The district also thought the 1926 buildings needed some upgrades to modernize the building and provide a better educational environment for the students.


These items include new ceilings and lighting in the hallways and classrooms, painting the old brick in the hallways, wall graphics, new doors for each classroom and office located in that building, and then a geothermal system for heating and cooling which will eliminate the window air conditions and radiators. 


With the district renovating the weight room into a new wrestling facility, it forced them into finding a new home for a weight room. 


“We decided to add on a weight room to the west of our locker rooms,” Brooks said. “The new weight room will be utilized by almost every SJO student through either strength training class, PE, or the sport in which they play.”


Brooks said that while the weight room may be the most visible addition, the new auditorium has a “wow” factor.


“The transformation of the old gym into an auditorium has been amazing to watch,” he said.  “This is going to be an incredible space both for our fine arts students, as well as our entire student body as we plan to use this space for a variety of things. We have many teachers planning to use this space for classroom activities too.”


Brooks said the upgrades are a benefit to the district and create a better educational environment for our students because the weight room and auditorium will be used as classrooms.


“The hallways are now more welcoming for our students to walk through, and give them a sense of pride as they go through the building,” Brooke said. “We will have much quieter classrooms next year in the 1926 building once the geothermal system is fully installed, which creates a much better learning environment for our students. The auditorium gives us a space to hold class meetings, staff meetings, and various public events that we host that parents and community members attend. All in addition of course to our fine arts events that will now have a state-of-the-art auditorium for a high school to perform in.”

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