By Curt Yeomans
The 1,300-student school for kindergarten through eighth-graders, being built just outside of Lovejoy, may soon be one step closer to having a name.
Clayton County Public Schools Acting Chief Operations Officer Cephus Jackson is scheduled to ask the district's Board of Education on July 13 to vote on launching the process of naming the school.
Classes are scheduled to begin at the school in August 2010, according to a construction report presented to the school board earlier this week.
This would be the third time this year the community will have had an opportunity to help name a new Clayton County facility. In February, Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale was named. In May, the name of the district's new athletic stadium, Southern Crescent Stadium, resulted from community participation.
Jackson told board members Monday that if they vote in favor of the naming process, members of the community will be allowed to submit possible names for the school through an online-submission area on the school system's web site, and by submitting suggestions to the school system's central office.
"There are certain items such as gymnasium bleachers and lettering in the construction contract which require the official school name," Jackson said. "To maintain the ... construction schedule, it is time to begin the process of selecting an official school name for the K-8 facility.
"Suggestions will be solicited from all interested individuals via a press release from the communications department, posting on the school system's web site and advertising in the local newspaper," Jackson added.
In a June 26 telephone interview, school board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said the board would use the same process as the one used in naming Drew High School. In that case, Anderson formed a special committee to review the names submitted. The committee then made a recommendation to the school board.
According to board policy FDC, the name of a new school cannot duplicate part of the name for another, existing school; the school system has to seek the approval of any living person it wants to name a school after; and names can only be given to entire schools, not parts of a school.
The policy also states that schools can be named after people "who have gained local, state or national prominence, and to individuals who have made significant contributions of service to the Clayton County Public School system."
The new 80-room school being built at the intersection of Panhandle Road and New Hope Road, just outside of Lovejoy, will cost an estimated $25.9 million, according to a report to the school board on Monday. Construction is scheduled to be completed a year from now.
"The school is about 15 percent built," said Kenny White, the school system's coordinating supervisor of facility maintenance. "And when I say it's 15 percent built, I mean the grading has been completed at the site, and the basic foundation has been laid."