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CCSD soliciting input for new school name

Jim Bates, currently at Cecil Sly, will serve as the principal for the new elementary school


The doors of Prineville's new elementary school won't open until September of 2015, but the district is hoping to name the yet-to-be-built facility at next month's school board meeting.

Jim Bates, currently the principal at Cecil Sly, has been named the new school's principal, and he acknowledges that some may think it premature to name the building so early.

Yet, as part of the new school’s design team, Bates is looking forward to the community coming together in helping to bring an identity to the new facility.

“Naming a school is a wonderful way to reflect the landmarks of the area,” he said, adding that names will also be associated with classroom pods and other key areas within the school.

“We want to begin to identify common threads in school design,” explained Bates. “We are also under a tight time line as these decisions are part of the cost processes regarding signage and other issues.”

Jim Bates joined committee members Anna Logan, Cheri Rasmussen, Dave Robinson, Duane Yecha, Gwen Carr, Jeff Papke, Jerry Milstead, Kim Bonner, Michael Shank, Patti Norris, Mike Gorman and Dean Hylton to review the list of 16 suggested school names, submitted to the district via email or the district's Facebook page.

The list included names of local personalities, recognizable landmarks, the city's geologic and geographic features, as well as significant historical references.

On initial review, Crook County School Board Chair Patti Norris, noting school board policy prohibiting naming schools after people, quickly eliminated three suggested names from the list.

“There is always someone who is important to someone that will get left out,” she said. “It is better just not to go there at all.”

Others were eliminated due to potential conflict, or confusion, with existing Central Oregon schools, such as High Desert and Cascade Middle School in Bend.

Suggestions that included Crooked River or Ochoco were thought to be too similar to the two elementary schools slated to be closed when the new school opens.

After a lengthy discussion, the committee agreed to consider the names “Barnes Butte Elementary” and “Iron Horse Elementary,” although the committee invites the public to continue submitting suggestions.

“Families can continue to provide input to the naming process either by email or via our Facebook page,” said District Superintendent Duane Yecha, “We will keep those sites open until the next design committee meeting.”

It's not just a school name that the committee is seeking.

The design calls for seven classroom pods and it is hoped to assign names to each of them as well, creating a unifying theme throughout the building.

One suggestion was to match a set of teachable student traits to each pod that included the words honesty, courage, compassion, creativity, perseverance, respect, responsibility, integrity, resilience, explore, service, dependability and ambition.

A second suggestion paired local river names such as Crooked River, Ochoco Creek, Marks Creek, Mill Creek, McKay Creek, Beaver Creek and Bear Creek.

A local landmark theme — including Steins Pillar, Brennan Palisades, Eagle Rock, Grizzly Mountain, Summit Prairie, Chimney Rock and Lookout Mountain — was also suggested.

The concept that appeared to attract the most attention was to name the second-floor pods after local mountains, such as Summit Prairie, Grizzly and Lookout, matching them with the pods on the first floor, directly beneath them, with water sources they feed, such as the Crooked River, Ochoco Creek, McKay Creek and Beaver Creek.

Committee member Dean Hylton especially liked this idea, commenting that this naming scheme paid homage, in a way, to Crooked River and Ochoco Elementary, by including references to them in the pod names.

It was suggested by Norris that the committee charge Bates and the school's interior designers with taking the concepts discussed and narrowing down the suggested lists of character traits, rivers and landmarks, in time for the team's next meeting.

Norris added that she hopes the public continues to participate by submitting additional suggestions, asking that ideas be submitted prior to that meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, April 8 at 3:30 p.m.

And, there's still plenty of time to name a mascot!



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