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Reflecting on recent renovations, and looking ahead to new turf at St. Joseph-Odgen High School

By Amanda Brennan,


ST. JOSEPH, Ill., (WCIA) — Your high school memories might include cheering on the football team or watching your classmates in the school musical. Students at St. Joseph-Odgen High School are taking advantage of both these experiences in a renovated space.

“Before, it was called our old gym/auditorium. We would use that for certain concerts, for our fall play, spring musical. We would use it for wrestling practice and even sometimes wrestling meets,” Justin Franzen, the school’s assistant principal and activities director, said.

But now, it’s renovated and much different. The new 490-seat auditorium is helping students take center stage.

“Going into the spring musical this year, watching the spring musical, seeing the kids participate, they were just so excited,” Franzen said.

Music and the arts have their own space, and athletics have their own areas.

Our Town St. Joseph: How a tavern, Abraham Lincoln and the town square all formed the town we know today

“By the time wrestling started this year in November, our guys and coaches were able to go in there and use the new room which was absolutely fantastic,” Franzen explained.

He knows the importance of facility upgrades.

“We want our kids to have the best they can have, but also want them to earn everything that they need to do moving forward as well,” he said.

A year ago, the weight room didn’t even exist in the high school. It’s where buses used to park. The indoor renovations were part one of the 12-million dollar project. Part two is happening outside. Construction is underway for new turf this upcoming fall season.

“This is going to be an all-new turf football and soccer field and an all-new all-weather track,” Franzen noted.

Athletes are going to see changes at the diamond too.

Long-awaited auditorium opens at St. Joseph-Ogden High School

“Our old softball field is basically going to become a new softball field over where our old baseball field used to be,” he said.

Crews started breaking ground outside at the beginning of May and are aiming to wrap it up in time for the first football game of the year on August 18.

It’s a day Franzen can’t wait for.

“It’s so exciting to see what could become of this for our kids,” he said.

You can join WCIA not too far from the high school on Friday, June 9 for Our Town St. Joseph. Join us for all sorts of fun in downtown near Main and Lincoln Street during the 4, 5, and 6 p.m. broadcasts.

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