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Want a Kenwood School gym brick? Saturday's your day

Giveaway set; planning underway for replacement

Kenwood gym bricks being given away

BEND, Ore. - Interested community members are invited to obtain a brick from Bend's former Kenwood gym during a distribution event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at High Desert Middle School.

A total of 1,000 bricks will be distributed to the public on first-come, first-served basis, with each individual allowed to receive one brick, the Bend-La Pine Schools said Tuesday.

The bricks from the gym, where the roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow in January, were cleaned and prepared. thanks to contractor Kirby Nagelhout Construction as a donation to Bend-La Pine Schools and the community.

“We want to allow members of our community the opportunity to celebrate the Kenwood gymnasium for the unique place that it was, while also looking forward to rebuilding,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson. 

The process to rebuild a gym at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is currently underway, with a proposed timeline for the new gym to open in the fall of 2018. The school district hired BBT Architects and design meetings begin next week. 

The brick distribution will coincide with Bend-La Pine Schools’ Classified Job Fair taking place at the same location, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday 

Facts About Kenwood School

  • Opened for the 1919-20 school year.
  • Gym built in 1950.
  • Oldest school building in Bend-La Pine Schools that has been in continual use as a school
  • The school was originally built with open-air hallways in a U-shape. The hallways were lined with archways that allowed rain, snow and wind in and also opened onto a large courtyard.
  • In 1923, the archways were blocked off and sealed. A fourth side of the school was built a few years later.
  • Part of the courtyard was covered by the building of the school’s media center in the 1970s.
  • Jack Ensworth was named National Teacher of the Year in 1973 while he was a teacher at Kenwood (Ensworth Elementary School is named in his honor.)
  • A magnet program began at the school in 2000 with six classrooms dedicated to the Scottish storyline model.
  • In 2006, the program became school-wide.

Anecdotes: 

  • When the gym was built in 1950, it was the largest floor in Bend. The opening was marked with square dancing.
  • Sheep and pigs once grazed in the outdoor courtyard
  • A porcupine in a cage lived in the hallway.
  • The school closed in 1935 when a student contracted polio.
  • The school also closed in 1938 when the circus came to town.
  • Neighbors planted victory gardens in the front lawn during World War II. 

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