St. James Middle/Senior High School awarded $25,000 for the repurposing of Red Hall

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

Last week, St. James Middle/Senior High School was awarded $25,000 by Casey's Stores as part of the Cash for Classrooms program for the re-design and re-imagination of the Red Hall in St. James Middle/Senior High School.

"The Red Hall was the area that welcomed hundreds of students each day and hundreds of adults night-after-night for events," said Middle School/High School Principal Karla Beck. "With the addition of the Event Center, the Red Hall has a smaller fraction of community foot traffic than it had from 1960 to 2017. This has truly become a student space."

Beck submitted a grant back in December for the maximum amount of $50,000. Casey's received more grants than usual and decided to give out a number of partial grants.

Some of the ideas for the new Red Hall included a "'Saints Hub' information and tech-help space in the old concession stand, updated collaborative tech-based workstations, freshened-up paint, and a new/restored floor," said Beck. "Knowing that—and being thrilled about the $25,000 we received—our plans will need to be reimagined."

The 1960 lobby/entrance, known for sixty years as the 'Red Hall,' no longer serves its original purpose. It is standing idle and waiting for a transformation into active student space that looks into the future, not filled with memories of the past."

The grant proposal asked for eight new tables ($3,000 per table), nine 32" Samsung monitors ($149.99 per monitor), eight wall mounts ($19.99 per mount), new cables and circuits ($3,500), 40 stools ($54.00 per stool), three trophy cases ($2,389.00 per case), new epoxy flooring ($27,000.00), design and paint ($3,000.00), and administrative renovations ($1,695.96). The total project was given an estimate of $70,046.67.

Beck will be working with the Student Voice group, led by Taher Food Service Manager Abby Grove, to make sure students have input as to how the space will be utilized in the future.

"I am excited to work with the students and with Mrs. Grove," said Beck. "This space will be better received and utilized if the students know they were part of the planning."

An additional part of the grant application was an agreement that fundraising would be done to add to the awarded amount of $25,000.00. So far, the school has one $500.00 commitment towards the project.