A brief ceremony marking Phase 2 of the Jennie Jaynes Activities Complex was held inside the Heckart Performing Arts Center Monday at 5.

Sedalia School District 200 Board members, S-C students and faculty wearing hard hats took turns turning dirt with shovels on stage to simulate a ground-breaking ceremony.

Preceding that were speeches by Superintendent Todd Fraley, Board President Diana Nichols and Athletic Director Kyle Middleton.

S-C seniors Emily Eschbacher and Alexander Rice were the emcees for the event and introduced Superintendent Fraley and the other guest speakers.

We asked Dr. Fraley for his thoughts on this special occasion:

“I am totally stoked on where we're going as a school system, especially for our student-athletes and our programs,” Fraley told KSIS. “One of the goals that I told the board of education when they offered me this position, is I wanted to grow our programs, and the opportunities our students would have to participate, compete and experience things to the level that the same opportunities that students have at in the city, the urban areas, suburban areas. I want to bring those opportunities to Sedalia.”


Once construction on the complex is finished, more sports tournaments can be held at Smith-Cotton High School, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd., which will economically impact Sedalia.

“It's all part of a big picture. When we first started this, we also had talks with Sedalia Parks & Rec about what we were doing, and trying to coordinate. You know, they are as excited as we are to add venues, because then that does enable the community to offer bigger tournaments, larger scale events at multiple sites, and that not only brings people in to spend money at our local businesses, it's heads in beds at our hotels, it's restaurants, etc., Dr. Fraley said, adding that Sedalia 200 has a great relationship with Parks & Rec.

Phase 2 of the Jennie Jaynes Activities Complex is part of a long-range plan that began over 20 years ago, well before construction began on the current home of the Smith-Cotton Tigers on South Limit.

“Way back in the early 2000s, this was being discussed, and it's just exciting to finally be able to see it happen, in person and in real time,” Fraley concluded.

Dr. Fraley is currently in his second year serving as superintendent. He began working in District 200 in 1996.

“I'm here,” he said. “I still have things I want to accomplish, so stay tuned.”

The construction project will provide new homes for S-C's baseball, softball, soccer and tennis programs, as well as a turf practice field that will be used by the S-C Tiger Pride Marching Band and other athletic and activity programs.

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Hollis-Miller is the architectural firm on the project and Byrne & Jones is the construction firm.

“I believe it's a wonderful idea,” stated Board member Pam Moon, adding that the school board talked to a lot of people, and gathered input from constituents to determine what was best for the Sedalia community.

Moon said she feels the board has come up with a wonderful solution, “and I am so excited,” Moon said, adding that she and her daughter are SC grads. Her grandson is currently a sophomore at Smith-Cotton.

Construction on Phase 2 has already started, as evidenced by the presence of several large earth-moving machines and huge mounds of mud that were visible east of the main building on Monday afternoon. The only dirt moved on Monday, however, was what was laid out on stage at the Heckart for a photo opp.

Phase 1 cost around $6.4 million and Phase 2 is expected to cost around $11 million. The new project was funded through a tax levy extension, which will generate about $3.5 million per year for the school district.

The Smith-Cotton Marching Tigers opened and closed the ceremony, performing just below the stage, while at the same time, S-C cheerleaders and High Voltage were on stage to help share the excitement of the moment.

A school board meeting on stage followed the ceremony.

In the top photo: Sedalia School District 200 Board members, wearing safety helmets, turn dirt on stage at the Heckart Performing Arts Center on Monday.

S-C Groundbreaking for new sports complex

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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