Wake school board committee nixes using Cary in school name

khui@newsobserver.comDecember 12, 2013 

— Wake County school board members are nixing a proposal to include Cary in the name of a new high school.

The school board’s facilities committee voted Wednesday to recommend using Green Level High instead of Southwest Cary High, the name that had been proposed by school facilities staff. The recommendation puts the committee at odds with some town leaders who want Cary in the school’s name.

“People from Cary and from Apex will attend the school,” said school board member Jim Martin.

There was less debate Wednesday when the committee backed staff’s recommendation of Pine Hollow Middle as the name of a new school that will be built in northwest Raleigh along Leesville Church and Strickland roads.

Both recommendations are scheduled to go the full board in January.

This year, the school board wrestled with the issue of school naming at multiple meetings before voting in August to change the name of the new West Apex High to Apex Friendship High.

The board will have to come up with names for 16 new schools as a result of the October passage of an $810 million school construction bond issue. During last month’s facilities committee meeting, several board members said they want to avoid using names of towns or people because of the potential controversy attached to those options.

One of the new high schools, set to open in 2017, is along Roberts and Green Level Church roads in western Cary near the Chatham County border.

Betty Parker, the school district’s director of real estate services, said Wednesday that they recommended Southwest Cary because it identifies where the school is located in the town and it’s adjacent to a town park. Parker said that the name also reflects how the town has worked collaboratively with the school system to plan development of the site.

But when Martin and board member Susan Evans raised concerns about including the town’s name, board members began to discuss the four alternatives:

• Green Level High, in recognition of the historic community where the school is located.

• White Oak High, in recognition of the nearby White Oak Creek and White Oak township.

• Roberts Road High, in recognition of the road where the school is located.

• Anderson Ridge, in recognition of the family that owned the land for more than 60 years.

Some board members were concerned about using Green Level because there’s already a high school in Cary called Green Hope. But board member Bill Fletcher pointed to how “we survived” having schools in Holly Springs called Holly Springs, Holly Grove and Holly Ridge.

“It’s important that people have some sense of where the school is located based on the name,” Fletcher said. “Green Level does that.”

Fletcher cited the way in which Cary had helped with other school sites without having the town’s name included.

“I appreciate their cooperation,” he said. “I don’t think we have to stick the Cary name on everything.”

Cary Town Council member Jennifer Robinson, who represents the district where the school will be located, said she’s OK with the town not being mentioned in the name.

“This is just one of those things that is going to be personal preference,” she said. Staff writer Sarah Nagem contributed to this report.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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