Those that were deemed eligible were put in front of 15 committee members during a meeting Monday, Aug. 24 at the Platte County District Education Center. District officials asked each member to review the list of potential names and rank a top five.
Those will be tallied with the top three going to members of the board of education on Sept. 9 with a name to be chosen at the Sept. 17 regular session.
“We are a growing, dynamic community,” Platte County superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said in addressing the community members. “To be able to have a new elementary school and to get to put a moniker on that elementary school I think is a great honor that I hope you feel special about.”
Committee members included district residents, faculty and three students. Members were Kim Archer (staff), Steven Billings (community/parent), Cathy Brown (community/parent), Joe Carroll (community/parent), Amy Cordova (staff), Chris Donnelli (community/parent), Dakoda George (student), Teresa Hills (community/parent), Marissa Iden (student), Laura Leibman (community), Lesa Levi (staff), Lenora Miles (board of education), Michael Powers (staff), Spencer Ruwe (student) and Katie Whorton (community).
Options ranged from abstract to historical figures and people tied to the district.
Many on the list were repeat entries. Those that were most common included Duncan for the name of the property the new school sits on, Rising Star in a nod to the existing kindergarten building set to be closed after this year and Compass, a symbol the district uses in many of its logos.
The historical names included those with no real tie to the area like Lincoln, Washington and Einstein and those with a more direct relationship to the region like Disney, Amelia Earhart and Zaddock “Zed” Martin — founder of Platte City.
Former teachers and personnel for the district suggested were Donald J. Boller, Cheryl Jaros, Bunny Fulk, Mark Harpst, Chip Sherman and Tina Zubeck, which was the most submitted entry.
Committee members were given criteria for making their selections. The district recommended that the name unify the district and community, provide an inspiration to students, stand the test of time, not be based on cities, townships or municipalities, not be similar to another school in the area and lend dignity and stature to the school while supporting the district’s vision, mission and values. The most common reason for excluding a submission was the submission coming from a non-district resident.
Reik also excluded Paxton as an option because the district plans to keep that name for the building soon to be annexed into the high school.
That annexation is part of a $29 million capital improvement project — the most notable piece the new elementary school located off of Fourth Street on district-owned land known as the Duncan Farm property. Voters approved a $0.43 tax levy increase during the April general municipal election that will fund the new building in Platte City along with renovations to Paxton School and Pathfinder Elementary.
Construction is underway on the new elementary school, and Pathfinder will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29. All projects are slated to be completed in time for the 2016-17 school year.
The last naming initiative for the district came for the opening of Pathfinder in 2008. A student submitted the name chosen.
This year’s committee stayed for a little more than a half hour making its list with Hulett and Reik directing the proceedings but giving minimal input.