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Playing the name game in Stillwater

What's in a name? Well for a school district that's building a new elementary school, a whole lot.

District 834 School Board received an update on naming the future elementary school in Woodbury during its Feb. 25 learning session.

District 834 has narrowed down the possible names for its new elementary school to three — Brookview Elementary School, Saddleview Elementary School and Summit Point Elementary School.

"It's starting to become more real," Community Engagement Manager Carissa Keister said. "Having a name helps set a culture and create an identity."

Narrowing down names

Earlier this winter the Stillwater Area School District began accepting suggestions for what to name its new Woodbury elementary school at 11179 Brookview Road in Woodbury.

The public was able to submit name suggestions through Jan. 8. A total of 167 name suggestions, 119 of which were unique, were received.

When suggesting names, residents were asked to follow several guiding principles.

The guiding principles include: encourage unification among community stakeholders; include definition of function (i.e. elementary school); be clearly identifying, widely known and recognized for an extended period of time; support the mission of the school district; not be limited to educators and/or individuals formerly employed by the school district; if named for an individual, the consideration will be given for his or her character, contributions and achievements.

Many of the names receives were unique combinations of Woodbury with Stillwater, or Woodbury and Lake Elmo.

"There were a lot of creative ways of trying to give a nod to the geographical area," Keister said.

Some of the more unique names included: Lambeau School and Bill Nye the Science Guy Elementary School.

"There's always a few crazy ones," Keister said.

A committee of nine community and staff members reviewed the possible names and narrowed them down to the top three.

During discussions, all committee members were able to say what names they liked best and why.

The committee also looked up the names online to ensure that no other schools carry the same name.

"They liked the idea of the name being somewhat unique," Keister said.

Meaning behind the name

In regard to the three names being considered, Keister said the committee favored them because of the meanings laid out on the submissions.

"The meaning behind the names was what people really liked," Keister said.

Brookview Elementary, which was the most commonly suggest name, reflects the geographic location of the school, which is on Brookview Road.

Additionally, one committee member mentioned that Brookview is a historic road that used to wind through the community of Woodbury, Keister said.

"Committee members felt it was a calm, peaceful name and liked its ties to the community," she said.

Saddleview Elementary School was submitted as a nod to the Stillwater Ponies mascot.

"The committee appreciated the uniqueness of the name as it would be the only Saddleview Elementary School in the country," Keister said.

Summit Point Elementary School also reflects the geography of the location, since the school sits on one of the highest points in the city of Woodbury.

Summit also employs the idea of achievement, Keister said.

"The committee liked the strength of the name," she said.

The new school

District 834's new elementary school, which will open for the 2017-18 school year, is proposed to be 75,000 square feet, which will have an estimated cost of $25.7 million.

The school is proposed to house between 450 and 500 students; however, the common areas will have enough space for 600 students.

The 20-acre site on which the school will be located was purchased by the district for $1.4 million.

Mark Drommerhausen will be principal of the new school.

District 834 is expected to break ground on the project this spring.

A final name decision will be made at the District 834 School Board's March 10 meeting.

"Picking the name was a fun process for the committee," Keister said, "and now we can start building some excitement about the school."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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