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When the historic high school was rebuilt, donors made it possible to recreate the gym in the original brick

ERIC NORBERG - Here are the celebrants who were present for the unveiling of the commemorative plaques at Franklin High Schools new gym entrance on August 29th. They are identified, from left, as: Pam Knuth (with the big scissors for the ribbon), Judy, Marceline, April, Joyce, Principal Chris Frasier, Donna and Bob Earnest, Bill Gander, Sonya, Steve, Carol, Stu, and Phil.Between 2015 and 2017, Franklin High School on S.E. Woodward just east of 52nd Avenue was closed for renovation and an upgrade. The budget for the project had been $85 million, but as budgets often do, by the end of the project it had ballooned to $113 million. Cuts were made by the General Contractor to stem the costs, and one of those — a projected saving of $85,000 — was to eliminate the use of brick on the new gymnasium.

The Franklin High Alumni Association leaped in with a "Buy-A-Brick" fundraiser which, by the fall of 2016, had raised over $100,000, and the new gym was built with the use of bricks as originally intended. Now, there are a series of large plaques lining the hallway entrance to the new gymnasium from the parking area to its south, and on the plaques are inscribed the names of the hundreds of Franklin alumni who bought one or more bricks through this fundraiser.

ERIC NORBERG - Here are Donna and Bob Earnest, with the plaque commemorating their major donation towards the new FHS gyms completion, done in honor of their late son Geoff who, despite being afflicted with cystic fibrosis, made quite a name for himself competing and coaching in the vigorous sport of wrestling. At 11 a.m. on Monday, August 29, the day before the official fall opening of the school year, a ceremony was held in that hallway to celebrate the success of the campaign, and the alumni who made it possible. Those in attendance included Sonya Harvey, FHS Business Manager, along with other staff, and a number of Alumni Association Board Members — President Pam Knuth, Judy Orem, Carol Blair, Joyce Gago, Marceline Eagan, Stu Johnson, Phil Schnable, and April Avery. Also present were the two "Major Donors", who each received an individual plaque of appreciation on both sides of the doors into the new gymnasium: Bill Gander, class of 1967; and Donna and Bob Earnest, class of 1965. Those two very generous donations amounted to almost half of all the money raised in the "Buy-A-Brick" fundraiser. ERIC NORBERG - Bill Gander, who will forever be associated with his ownership of Standard TV and Appliance - first on Woodstock Boulevard, and later on S.E. 82nd Avenue of Roses - was a major donor to the FHS gymnasium brick reconstruction; and here he stands with his plaque at the entrance to the new gym.The school invites anyone who contributed to the fundraiser, or who is simply interested in seeing the outcome of the gym's and school's upgrade, to visit and read the plaques during school hours.

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