No name yet for new middle school at Hibriten

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 10:35 AM

The Hibriten district’s new middle school is on track to open in the fall of 2015 — but it doesn’t yet have a name.

The school, which is planned to replace the current William Lenoir Middle, would be completed by August 2015 — meaning this year’s eighth-graders at William Lenoir would finish middle school in the new building. William Lenoir is near its designed capacity, and is projected to be over capacity by the 2014-15 school year. The school system hopes to break ground by February, assistant superintendent for auxiliary services Jeff Church said Monday.

The school board approved Monday drawings of the new school, which will feature a gate-controlled courtyard with lunch and outdoor-classroom space. The front of the school is designed to have a separate vestibule; visitors will have to be buzzed in from there.

As for a name – “William Lenoir” may travel with the school to its new location, or the Caldwell County Board of Education may select a new name.

An informal survey of William Lenoir staff showed that 22 employees wanted to keep “William Lenoir Middle,” while 11 favored the name “Lenoir Middle School,” Superintendent Steve Stone said.  

School board members probably will take up the issue in December but discussed it informally at a board work session Monday.

Board member Duane Knight suggested naming the school Lenoir Middle and adopting as its mascot the bearcat – the mascot at the former Lenoir High School.  

“Our other middle schools are community schools: Gamewell, Granite and Hudson, all named after communities,” Knight said. “So, this could be named a community school – Lenoir.”

Board member Helen Hall said she has heard support within the community for keeping the old name.

“All of them, when they talk about a name, I haven’t heard anyone say they wanted Lenoir Middle School,” Hall said. “I’ve heard lots say they wanted to stay William Lenoir Middle School.”

Stone added that naming it as a community school eventually may be inaccurate.

“Quite frankly, it’s a school that, at some point, may serve more than just the City of Lenoir,” he said. “As we move forward, if we ever get to the point – which I hope we don’t – that we have to close a school, a K-8 or something, then those students would be coming to this middle school. By calling it ‘Lenoir,’ you’re kind of saying it’s the city’s school.”

Stone has said previously that there are no plans to close any of the district’s schools, including K-8s, and repeated that Monday.