The first major step in the multi-million project to update and renovate Keeney Street Elementary School passed its first hurdle last week, as the Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved the plans. The project, which required a special exception permit because it’s a school, would add roughly 8,500 square feet of interior space to the building at 179 Keeney St., increasing overall classroom space while reorganizing the floor plan. The district also plans to overhaul Keeney’s exterior, with consolidation of playgrounds and outdoor recreation to the east of the building and a redesign of the bus loop, parent drop-off loop, and parking. Voters approved the project in 2019 as part of the $93 million SMARTR2 referendum that also is funding work on Bowers elementary, now underway, and Buckley elementary, which was just finished at a total of $27 million. Of the total referendum amount, $88 million comes from state bonding, and $5 million is from reserve funds allocated to the building projects.