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NEW FRANKLIN SCHOOL TOUTED AS A SAFE PLACE TO GROW, LEARN

A new school that will be safer during an earthquake was introduced to the public this week.

At least that's how Ryan Viertel, the essay winner for grades K-3, sees the new Franklin Elementary at 350 S. 600 West."I feel good because in the old school in an earthquake almost everybody would die," said Viertel as he read his essay to the crowd gathered for the open house Tuesday afternoon.

"In the new school we're safe!" said the youngster.

The "old" Franklin was the portion of the school built by Provo School District in 1900 and razed in May to make way for playgrounds because the "new" Franklin was going in on the west side where the play area has been.

The new Franklin is bright and modern, featuring a red-and-white color scheme and bold design elements throughout the halls and rooms.

Children in their chairs out front for the open house chattered excitedly and didn't seem to mind the light sprinkle of rain.

Provo District Superintendent Michael Jacobsen said he wasn't "here for the bond issue" or for most of the building but that as a new resident of Provo he will be helping to pay for it - "and I'm very happy to do so."

He thanked the community for having the foresight to approve the bond that will pay for the school.

Kenneth Matheson, school board president, said the school offers new beginnings and new opportunities.

"But we also know that learning can take place in old and new schools," said Matheson. He admonished the student body to take pride in the new building and care for it.

Nu Skin officials Keith Halls and Jon Peterson spoke about their opportunities as a partner in education with Franklin Elementary. Halls also presented a check to pay for much-needed additional science kits for sixth-grade students.

"Good luck. Have a good year and do your homework," said Halls.

Bricks from the demolished building were presented to the essay winners and to other significant contributors to the new building, including architect Stephen Sandstrom and essay winners Alison Groesbeck, Scott Keithly and Mark Hutchinson.

Principal Marlin Palmer said more bricks are for sale to those who'd like to help the school buy computers.

"Franklin has been around for 94 years," said Keithly in his essay. "And there have been lots of changes, but one thing has not changed. Wonderful people make it great."