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It's time to name that school

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image Architect's rendering of the new school to be built in Ruskin. Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County School Board

The school board is looking for a name that will reflect someone who has contributed to education in the county. Sorry, Mickey.

By Kevin Brady
There’s no shortage of names for a new $14.2 million elementary school due to open next year in Ruskin.

Some 137 nominations were sent in for the school on East Shell Point Road in Ruskin, next to Lennard High School.

“We had someone suggest Mickey Mouse Elementary among others,” said Steve Hegarty, a Hillsborough County School Board spokesperson. “We also had some other cute ones like ‘Little Lennard’ since it’s adjacent to Lennard High School.”

Nominations for the name of that school, now known as “Elementary School A,” which will serve 940 students, were accepted through Sept. 9.

The school is due to open in August 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year. The floor plan for the school, designed by Wilder Architecture Inc., calls for a media/administration building, two-story classroom buildings with art, music and physical education spaces.

Lennard High was named for University of South Florida graduate and East Bay High School teacher Earl Lennard, the former superintendent of schools who oversaw the Hillsborough County school district’s expansion from 1996 to 2005.

Similarly, the School Board is looking for a name that will reflect someone who has contributed to education in the county. Sorry, Mickey.

Suggestions for names received by the deadline will be included in the packet of materials sent to school board members, who are expected to vote on the school’s name at the board’s Sept. 24 meeting.

Nominations were also made to call the school after Jack Lamb, a former school board member, and Vince Thompson, former principal of East Bay and Riverview High Schools.

To avoid campaigns to stuff the ballot box, the school board does not pick a name based on how many nominations it garners.

“We just bring the names to the board members and they decide,” Hegarty said. “Each member then proposes a name and it usually takes a few ballots before the name is chosen.”

Board members can also come up with a name that was not on the list, as they did several years ago when they named a new high school in Lutz after George Steinbrenner.

The nominations will be included with other names that have been suggested over the years.

According to school board policy, “schools shall be named for individuals who have rendered outstanding service to public education, such as U.S. presidents, school board members, educators, outstanding citizens and geographic locations.”

The new school, on a 14.53 acre property owned by the school board, is expected to support recent and future growth impacting Ruskin and Cypress Creek Elementary schools, according to a March 19 report filed with the school board from Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

The school shall be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, and will open in August 2014 for the 2014-2015 school year.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) program that allows new and renovated buildings to be certified as developed with more environmentally sustainable concepts. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

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