St. John’s Academy in Jamestown breaks ground for addition, renovation

by Kristina Lahr | New Earth

Students of St. John’s Academy break ground for the new school addition on May 8. (Kristina Lahr | New Earth)

On May 8, St. John’s Academy in Jamestown broke ground for an addition that will more than double the school’s current size. Students donning hardhats and shovels got a chance to kick off the momentous occasion for the pre-K through 6th grade elementary school that will transform the school into a modern educational facility.

“What we build here, we build not on our own, but with and in our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Bishop John Folda. “If we build with him, then we build on a firm foundation, and this edifice will truly give glory to God.”

The 27,000 square foot addition will include nine expanded classrooms that will empower teachers to incorporate technology and innovative teaching methods, a 5,000 square foot commons area and kitchen, an expanded childcare facility for early education and afterschool programs, a school chapel, and renovated administrative offices and workroom. To provide better security, the administrative offices will be relocated to the front of the school in order to control building access.

“This most recent bold campaign for St. John’s Academy is a clear demonstration of the goodness and value to our community and the need to keep St John’s Academy a vital part of not only our faith community, but the larger Jamestown community as well,” said Dwaine Heinrich, Mayor of Jamestown.

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. That’s what we’re here for,” said Terry Wanzek, Capital Campaign Committee Chair. “We want to continue to provide a great education that’s steeped in Christian values and morals. We want to provide for a school that we are proud of in our community.”

A new chapel will remind students and staff of the importance of faith and a relationship with Christ Jesus throughout the school day and throughout their lives.

“What brings us the most joy is to know Christ and to be able to follow him and accept his teachings in our own life and be a messenger of the gospel to others,” said Monsignor Jeffrey Wald, pastor of St. James Basilica in Jamestown. “That’s really what this school is all about. For over 125 years, it’s been teaching people about Christ, helping them to be faithful to Christ, and giving them the gifts necessary to proclaim Christ. For that reason, not only today but for the last 127 years, there has been great joy in this city.”

“The entire mission of St. John’s Academy will hinge on this one essential act: the proclamation of Christ to every person who will walk through its doors, whether students, faculty, staff, family members, or visitors,” said Bishop Folda. “This new addition will give that mission even more energy and vigor. In a very real way, St. John’s is a herald of the Gospel, a living expression of the presence of Christ among us.”

The $5.95 million project is expected to be completed by August 2020.