Michael Derrick and Becky Theurer have a date to keep on Jan. 1, 2000.

The first-graders and eight of their fellow students, who will be high school seniors as the 20th century draws to a close, have agreed to meet on that date to wrap up some unfinished business they began on a sunny day in April 1989.As part of Project 2000's Kidspeak Program, the students have locked away a time capsule in Salt Lake's newly renovated City-County Building. Inside the capsule are several artifacts of life as we know it in the late 1980s, including a styrofoam hamburger carton and a can of Pepsi.

"We'll see if it really is the choice of a new generation," explained Project 2000 executive director Jennifer Stevens as the students gathered Monday to take part in the time capsule ritual.

The capsule will also include some futuristic predictions made by the schoolchildren of the 1980s ("The Jazz will win the NBA championship in 2000").

Project 2000, the non-profit group that encourages Utahns to ponder and plan for the future, had originally planned to lock the capsule inside a statue on the west side of the renovated old government building, but it turned out that somebody goofed when they measured either the statue or the capsule.

Instead, the students "buried" the time capsule in a specially built copper and glass box (exactly the right size) in the building's clock tower. The first-graders, accompanied by several teachers from Meadowlark, Highland Park, Beacon Heights and Wasatch elementary schools, had fun climbing the dozens of flights of stairs to get to the tower's bells. They were met at the base of the giant chimes by Mayor Palmer DePaulis.

After helping the mayor push the copper capsule into the spot it will occupy for the next 11 years, the students thanked DePaulis for saving the 95-year-old building.

"We will graduate in the year 2000, and we are happy that the City and County Building will still be here," wrote the first-graders of Highland Park Elementary on a scroll presented to the mayor.

Brandon Rodier of Beacon Heights Elementary told the mayor that he plans to bring his children to the historic building someday.

Other students attending the ceremony were Riley Vuksinick, Leslie Lund, Corrine Morris, Amy Christison, David Melville, Elijah Carrillo and Alison Lauderdale.

The time capsule, made of Utah copper donated by Kennecott, was sponsored by Project 2000, Salt Lake City Tomorrow, the Salt Lake Arts Council and the Urban Design Coalition.