New elementary school naming committee begins selection process

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | 8:13 p.m. CDT; updated 9:46 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 31, 2008

COLUMBIA — The naming committee for the new elementary school met Wednesday and discussed next week's process for actually deciding on a name.

Columbia Public Schools accepted suggestions from the community for the school's name until Oct. 16. Thirty-nine suggestions were submitted and divided into two groups: place names and names in honor of people.

Members of the naming committee

Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent for elementary education

Jan Mees, board of education member

Carol Garman, Field Elementary School principal

Rhonda Hafner, Field Elementary School teacher

Seth Hern, Blue Ridge Elementary School teacher

Michael Ness, parent

Minjon Jones, parent

Sally Mackey, parent

Robin Nichols, Partners in Education representative

Becky Widener, Partners in Education representative

Rebecca Miller, community member

Linda Swearengen, community member

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Committee members were given time to look over the suggestions from the community, but no decisions were made. Each member was assigned to picking his or her top three choices to bring back to the next meeting.

The committee discussed the board of education's policy for naming new buildings. The guidelines are as follow:

  • the name should be easily identifiable with the school;
  • the names of living people should be avoided; and
  • individual parts of a school building or campus should not be named separately from the total school complex.

Also discussed were issues the committee might have to consider when selecting the name, such as other buildings with the same name, names that could cause confusion and the contributions of the person whose name was submitted.

The committee includes parents, teachers, school administrators, board members and partners in education. Advertisements for the committee were displayed on the Columbia Public Schools Web site, in Columbia newspapers and on TV. School principals were also contacted to obtain the names of parents within the community to serve on the committee.

The committee will meet again at 5 p.m. Wednesday at 1818 W. Worley St. to make the final decision. The recommendation will be given to the Columbia School Board by Nov. 6, and the naming will be decided at the board's Nov. 10 meeting.

The new elementary school, which will be on Arbor Pointe Parkway, is scheduled to be ready by the 2009-10 school year. It's being built to accommodate the growing community of Columbia and to provide additional space for students, said Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent for elementary education.

Field Elementary School principal Carol Garman will be principal of the new school when Field becomes an early childhood center next year. Elementary teachers from Field will also be moving to the new school.

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