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History, Part 3

By 1996, this 8,700 square foot building was attracting vandals. The Heritage Foundation and community leaders negotiated with the City Council to have the school moved to City Hall property. The community helped to raise funds (over $85,000) for the move to its permanent location and the setting of a new foundation, rough plumbing and electrical. Now, the Old School was prominently on display on Chemawa Road, just a few blocks from its original location. The people of Keizer and surrounding areas were now able to visualize a much-needed community center.

In the ensuing 2½ years, substantial work was done on the building. The philosophy of Keizer Heritage Foundation was simple: Move ahead as money became available. The Foundation’s Directors and many volunteers donated countless hours of work. Portions of the projects were completed as volunteers, money, and donated professional services became available.

The Keizer City Council was concerned about the slow completion of this project. In January 1999, key community leaders joined the Heritage Foundation as board members, and adopted a new strategy for completion. Their primary goal was to complete a Business Plan outlining the necessary steps, costs and time frames for completion.

With that Plan in place, first the Foundation abandoned the approach to rely entirely on volunteer labor. Instead, it elected to put the project out for bid under the guidance of a professional architect. Now, the true costs of this project were clear and, with professional talent, the restoration would be completed in a timely manner.

Second, the Foundation tackled the issue of operating costs and determined that the building would be self-sufficient and future tenants would pay rent for current and future operating costs. By contract with the City, these tenants are non-profit…READ MORE

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