Despite less than favorable weather, over 250 students, staff, parents, and community members were present to celebrate the official opening of the Keithley Commons. The first major construction project in more than a decade, the Commons replaced the old Keithley Middle School cafeteria.
The new space boasts 4,272 more square feet than the old building. The Commons is comprised of a multipurpose space capable of seating more than 500 people that will be used during the school day for student meals and assemblies, and in the evening for school and community events. The building also includes a computer lab that can be divided into two separate classrooms, a band room, a choral room that pairs as a performance stage, administrative offices, and a central kitchen capable of preparing 4,500 breakfasts and 4,500 lunches daily.
At the ceremony, speakers included Superintendent Hewins, School Board President Roberts, Principal Tom Edwards, Kiethley ASB President Rico Mantanona, and Executive Director of Support Services Robin Heinrichs. The ceremony was bookended by performances from the Keithley band and choir. Ceremonial keys were presented to Principal Edwards and ASB President Mantanona by School Board President Roberts. Following the ceremony, guests toured the facility and filled small plates of hors d'oeuvres prepared in the new kitchen facility by the district's Nutrition Services department.
"This is a great occassion," remarked Superintendent Hewins. "Our students deserve educational facilities like the Keithley Commons." The Keithley Commons project was made possible by the voter approved capital levy in 2012. The $27.5 million levy will pay for classroom modernization to every classroom in the district, energy efficiency upgrades, the new Keithley Commons, and a replacement of Ford Middle School's cafeteria. All projects are complete, except classroom modernization at the middle and high schools, and Ford's new cafeteria. The remainder of classroom modernizations will be completed over the next two years, and the new Ford cafeteria will begin construction this spring with an expected opening in December 2015.
School Board President Cole Roberts primed the audience that the Keithley Commons was just the beginning. "We want our community to see the Keithley Commons as the potential for our other school facilities throughout the district." Superintendent Hewins preceded President Roberts' remarks by inviting everyone to attend the district's next round of capital facilities planning efforts. Referred to as "FPS 2030," the capital facilities planning committee will begin meeting shortly after the new year to guide the district in planning a bond measure for 2016.
Anyone interested in participating in the FPS 2030 planning efforts is encouraged to attend the first meeting, held at the Keithley Middle School Commons on January 20th, 2015 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.