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'A piece of that spirit': Kenwood gym bricks handed out

1,000 bricks given away to residents of all ages

Kenwood gym bricks given away

BEND, Ore. - Community members welcomed a chance to own a physical memory of Bend's Kenwood School gym. The building collapsed a few months ago due to the heavy layer of snow on the roof. Bricks from the gym were handed out Saturday at High Desert Middle School, giving people a chance to reminisce and to own a piece of Bend's history, their childhood or both. 

People of all ages grabbed a brick and reminisced about their favorite memories at the school, including many who attended the school over 60 years ago.

Roger Austin attended Kenwood School starting in 1949. 

"I have tons of memories in that building," Austin said. "That era was very special to me. And the town was much smaller, extremely friendly, and you couldn't walk down the street without waving to everybody that walked by."

When the gym was built in 1950, it was the largest floor in Bend at the time. Now 1,000 bricks are what remain. 

"It was actually a really awesome opportunity to meet with families and previous students," said Julianne Repman, Bend-La Pine Schools' director of communications and safety.

"We had folks that were students there in the '30s and '40s, all the way up to students that were current students at Kenwood School," she said. "So it's been a really great way to connect with our community and give back with something as simple as a brick."

A variety of people of all ages went to pick up one brick to hold onto their memories of the Kenwood Gym. While some commented that they were sad it was gone, most just wanted to talk about their favorite memories of the school.

One man recalled attending the school in the late '40s, along with several family members. 

'We moved here from Minnesota in 1949, and I was in the fifth grade, I had a brother in the sixth, a brother in the seventh, and we were all going to Kenwood for the rest of that year," Lowell Mastrud said. "In 1950, the following year, they built the gym -- and my dad helped lay the bricks."

Cars continued to line up with people seeking the bricks, and even a 12-year-old boy who attended the school for six years wanted one. 

"I just wanted to have the memory of probably the most fun six years of my life, because that's just the most fun school," said Brody Macleod. "Just because the gym collapsed doesn't mean the spirit is gone, it just means you have a piece of that spirit."

The Kenwood Gym may be gone, but the memories will always live on for the people who attended the school.

The bricks were cleaned and prepared thanks to Kirby Nagelhout Construction. Whatever bricks are now left over have a chance to be used for the foundation for the new gym that the school district hopes to build by next year. 


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