The Ottumwa Courier

October 9, 2012

New elementary school not yet named

Public’s suggestions for the new building narrowed to four

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa school board reviewed names the community submitted for the new elementary school being built off Mary Street on Ottumwa’s south side.

The district had a page on its website for anyone who thought it would be nice to help name a building. More than 50 recommendations came in.  

Of course, some suggestions were, it seemed, not intended to be taken seriously — board members said a few were obviously tongue-in-cheek. Though the imagination runs wild thinking of some of the ideas that didn’t make it, Eidahl didn’t share any of those.

When asked after the board meeting Monday, he responded, “I will say we took the 25 or 30 we believed to be sincere and forwarded those to the facilities committee.”

The suggestions were narrowed down even further.

Jeff Strunk, a school board member, said he understands the sub-committee’s early decision not to include the names of people; there are so many who contributed to education in Ottumwa, it would be better not to try and choose just one, he said.

Eidahl added that the subcommittee also avoided sticking a geographic tag that could separate the school from the district.

“We’re all Ottumwa,” he said. “The Ottumwa Community School District.”

So no “South Ottumwa Elementary School” and no “John and Jane Doe Elementary School.”

Since this was just a discussion, with no voting, Board President Carol Mitchell said they would just read the remaining four names: Timberview, Parkview, Discovery and Liberty. It was unclear whether Timberview and Parkview would be one word or two.

A couple board members said they were partial to Timberview, a couple more to Liberty, one or two liked Discovery. Parkview didn’t generate as much interest.

During the most recent tour of the building, board members seemed taken with the view of fields, barns and woods visible from many classrooms.

Though it’s a ways off, said Strunk, “I was thinking since there are two Traxler Drives” going into the school, the board could discuss with the city of Ottumwa the possibility of naming one or both after someone of importance to education in the community.