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Keyes Elementary breaks ground for new classrooms
Keyes Union School District board of trustees break ground Tuesday on a new eight-classroom building on the Keyes Elementary School campus. Pictured from left to right: Architect Gary Gery, MOT Supervisor Jerry Hines, board member Bob Edwards, board member Sandra Marchant, board president Marianne Pietrzyk. - photo by Photo Contributed
Third grade students learned a new vocabulary word for the week, “concrete,”  as the foundation for the new classroom buildings was being set on Tuesday.
Their new building is expected to have a total of eight classrooms with six kindergarten classrooms, two primary grade classrooms, three workrooms and seven restrooms within the 10,000 square foot building. There will also be an outdoor play area with a tricycle track.  
“We have been planning this for the past year and a half,” said Karen Poppen, Keyes Union School District superintendent. “To break ground and see it actually happening is really exciting.”  
The new classrooms will mark the completion of a four-year modernization project by the district.
The four-year modernization project came together through the commitment and vision of the Keyes community to help improve school facilities, Poppen said. They passed a $5 million bond in 2005 to modernize Keyes Elementary School and provide other facility needs in the Keyes district.
Through the project, the district has been able to renovate student restrooms, some classrooms, the cafeteria and now add the new building to the elementary school campus, she said.    
“The school was built back in the 1950s,” Poppen said. “It is like an older home. It has continuous needs to keep up with maintenance.”
Along with the 50-year overdue upgrade, Keyes Elementary School was in need of more kindergarten classrooms.
There were only two kindergarten classrooms with five kindergarten classes, Poppen said. The three extra classes were being taught in other classrooms not intended for kindergartners.
“The kindergarten classes started to become bigger so now there is a need for a bigger space,” she said.
As of right now, the elementary school students are being housed at their temporary learning location at the Keyes to Learning Charter School while construction hammers on until the completion of the building in May 2010, Poppen said.
Last year four portable classrooms were moved to the Keyes to Learning Charter School campus so the charter school students could use them but those four are now being used for the elementary school students.
Once the students can move back to the elementary school site, the Keyes to Learning Charter School can once again use all eight of its new portable buildings.
“The charter school would like their four rooms back,” Poppen said. “They could really use them.”  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.