Possible names for new Park Hill schools announced

The Park Hill School District has unveiled the final possible names for its new elementary and middle schools.

At the Thursday, Feb. 8 board of education meeting, the board heard a report from the naming committees. Two committees made up of staff, students and administrators sorted through 744 school name suggestions to narrow the field to five possibilities.

For the fourth district middle school, under construction off Northwood Avenue, two possible names were selected by the committee — Hopewell or Walden.

Both names hold historical significance in the area, as Hopewell is the collective name of several Native American cultures living along rivers in the Midwest from 200 BC to 500 AD. A 2,200 year-old Hopewell Indian site is located at the Line Creek Archeological Museum off of Waukomis Drive. Walden refers to the township wherein the middle school will be located.

For the district’s 11th elementary school, which will be located near Northwest 68th Street and Waukomis, the committee also chose Hopewell as a finalist. The school will be located just west of the Line Creek Archeological Museum and site. Other finalists were Waukomis Trail and Trail View, both in reference to the nearby trail systems, including the Line Creek Trail.

The board is expected to vote on names for both schools at the Thursday, Feb. 22 meeting.

The board also heard a report on final design plans for the 11th elementary school from Hollis + Miller Architects. The months-long design process has included several public forums, with the district pledging to keep the building footprint small in the wooded area.

The district chose a two-story building plan, with a central common area and two wings for various grade levels. The first phase of construction bids are expected to be awarded in March, with completion set for July 2019.

Recently, district administration has responded to a campaign which started about four months ago by a small group of residents near the 11th elementary school. With a website located at lastkcforest.com and an online petition with about 6,500 signatures, the effort is aimed at Park Hill, the City of Kansas City, Platte County, Missouri Department of Conservation and the state government itself. The group has called for conservation of the woodland around the Line Creek Trail and future school site. 

Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd said the property was purchased from a family who had owned the tract for more than 50 years, and the district fully intends to work with the natural landscape and conserve as much woodland as possible.

Additionally, the district is working with Kansas City to scale back plans for possible construction of a parkway through the area.