Spokane residents have three more days to make an everlasting mark on their city.
It’s been 25 years since Spokane Public Schools built a new school, but three new middle schools will be built by fall 2024.
All need names, but the deadline for submissions is midnight Sunday.
At that point, the submissions will be reviewed by a screening committee, which in mid-March will begin the process of choosing three finalists for each school.
The school board will make the final choice for each middle school and the OnTrack Academy, which also needs a new name.
A final decision is expected in May.
The district had expected to have all three buildings named by now. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed the initiative to the back burner.
However, public input has been strong and steady, with more than 500 unique suggestions so far.
Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson said that based on the submissions, there’s “an organized campaign” on behalf of some names, though he didn’t say which.
According to the district, “the best candidates will be names that represent one or more of the following: a logical association with the new school, such as location or function; a significant individual or event; or a prominent local geographic feature.
Of the 45 buildings in Spokane Public Schools, 12 are named for their location or neighborhood.
They include North Central High School and 11 elementaries: Indian Trail, Westview, Lidgerwood, Linwood, Woodridge, Lincoln Heights, Garland, Arlington, Regal, Moran Prairie and Ridgeview.
The rest are named for people – 16 for prominent figures in Spokane and regional history, and the other 17 from the outside the region.
Of the 33 schools named for people, only two honor women: Sacajawea Middle School, named after the Native American explorer; and Frances Willard, the 19th-century educator and suffragist.
Only three are named for people of color: Sacajawea, Chief Garry Middle School (for the chief of the Middle Spokane tribe) and Chase Middle School (for former Mayor James Chase).
Chase, built in 1995, is the most recent new school in the district, though others have been rebuilt since then, all retaining their names.
The three new middle schools were approved by Spokane voters in 2018 as part of a capital bond.
The screening committee is still being formed. However, it will include Superintendent Adam Swinyard, at least one board member, the principals of the four schools, communications director Sandra Jarrard and a several members of the public.
The new middle schools will be located in northwest Spokane, just south of the current Albi Stadium site; on Foothills Drive, south of Gonzaga Preparatory School; and on 63rd Avenue on the South Hill, adjacent to Mullan Road Elementary School.
Mascots for the new middle schools will be determined at a later time, Anderson said.
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