BEND, OR -- A thousand bricks were salvaged from the former Kenwood School gym in Bend, and the school district plans to give them away this weekend. Within hours of the roof's collapse under the weight of mid-January snow, people were contacting the district to ask for bricks.
Julianne Repman, with Bend-La Pine Schools, says people just want to get their hands on a small piece of local history. "We had folks reaching out as early as that first day, asking if we could save some bricks for fundraisers." She tells KBND News, "We’ve had people who were part of the graduating class of 1975 of fifth graders; that’s where they graduated and made that transition into their middle school years. And then, just community members who have long lived here and have been able to drive by and see that; just for them it’s a really positive piece of history." The gym was built in 1950, and was the largest floor in Bend at the time.
Repman says, "What we decided to do was go ahead and collect the bricks up. Kirby Nagelhout, our contractor, donated their time and cleaned all these bricks off to make them ready for distribution. We didn’t want to take any money from the community for these bricks so we decided we’re just going to hand them out." She says the effort didn't cost the district anything. "That was one of the things we did have to weigh early on – will we be able to do this? Would it be cost intensive? And, because they cleaned off all of these bricks for us, they saved us thousands of dollars in the end, and made it possible for us to be able to give these back to the community."
Bricks will be distributed Saturday at High Desert Middle School, one per person and first come, first serve; between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.