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Kingston schoolhouse turns 100
KINGSTON – In the heart of Kingston, the town’s youngest students learn in one of its oldest buildings.
The two-story schoolhouse at Kola-Kole park, home to Kingston Cooperative Preschool, is turning 100 this year. An open house from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday will celebrate the building’s first century.
The Co-op Preschool has called the building home since 1965, but it was a bustling town center long before then.
The school was built over a few weeks in the summer 1909 and was open in time for October classes, accoding to the Kingston history “Little City by the Sea.” The builder was likely Sam Arness.
Classes from elementary through high school were eventually offered in the building. A 1922 school photo shows 51 pupils.
Classes ended at the schoolhouse in 1951, when North Kitsap School District opened the David Wolfle school. The school and grounds were transfered to Kitsap County.
The halls weren’t quiet long.
A newly formed public library blossomed in the east classroom of its ground floor, a space it would occupy until 1988. The Kingston VFW post took over its top floor as a meeting hall.
When the Co-Op Preschool moved in there was plenty of renovation needed.
School organizers replaced floors and furniture, repainted walls and installed an oil heater. The school had only an outhouse so a little bathroom was plumbed in under the stairs.
“There’s been a lot of work done over the years,” Co-Op Preschool Vice President Ann Yurovchak said.
Yurovchak said the school hopes to one day open the second story, which has been closed for safety reasons.
Today the preschool serves 54 students, ages 1 through 5. There are waiting lists nine-deep for some classes.
Students learn in an open, play-oriented classroom where toys and activities abound.
As a co-op preschool, parents take an active roll, working with students alongside teachers on designated days.
The century-old school building isn’t modern but it provides a homey feel treasured by students and parents.
“There’s a lot of character is this building,” preschool parent Jenn Kirkpatrick said. “We take pride in our old schoolhouse.”