Eastgate Elementary Says Goodbye to Old School Building - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eastgate Elementary Says Goodbye to Old School Building

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Many Kennewick natives have walked the hallways of Eastgate Elementary. It's where they learned to read and write. Now, alums are saying goodbye to the building, before a new school is built. Many Kennewick natives have walked the hallways of Eastgate Elementary. It's where they learned to read and write. Now, alums are saying goodbye to the building, before a new school is built.

KENNEWICK, WA - Many Kennewick natives have walked the hallways of Eastgate Elementary. It's where they learned to read and write. Now, alums are saying goodbye to the building, before a new school is built.

Eastgate is more than 60 years old and administrators say a new building is necessary because this one is just falling apart.

"It's the history that's been a part of this community for quite a while. So that is a major deal. Unfortunately this building isn't going to last for much longer," said Niki Arnold-Smith, Eastgate Elementary principal.

Eastgate Elementary opened it's doors in 1953. From the very first class to today's students, it's well-loved. But the building continues to need difficult repairs and it's time for a new one.

"It has gotten to the point that it's just not going to last anymore. We really are at the end of the useful life of this building," said Doug Carl, Kennewick School District Capital Projects.

The $14 million new school will be built next to the current building before it's demolished at the end of the school year.

Students who spend their days learning at Eastgate say they're excited for the new school.

"Well, I think it's good because we're going to get a nice new clean building," said Allison Francis, Eastgate kindergartner.

Some teachers at Eastgate are second generation educators. Kaylee Garner's mother taught there before she did.

"It's really special to me to get to follow in her footsteps. I always wanted to work at a school like Eastgate and then I got to actually work at Eastgate. It's a place that feels like family," Garner said.

Eastgate students grew up here and the building grew old. It's bittersweet for teachers and students to say goodbye to the place where they learned their ABC's.

"I will miss it," Francis said.

Eastgate's project is able to start this spring because there was money left over after other school remodels were completed under the 2009 $68 million bond. Lower construction costs during the recession saved the district enough money to start on Eastgate before another bond.

The new school will open in fall 2015.

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