The Mecklenburg County School Board has voted 6-2 to name the new high school Mecklenburg County High School and the new middle school Mecklenburg County Middle School. The vote came after a survey concluded in which 1,176 respondents chose those names over the options of Lake Country and Lakeside. Lake Country garnered 494 votes and Lakeside received 1,052 votes.
Two citizens spoke at the school board meeting on the subject of a school name. Ann Garnett Miller was disappointed that the survey had preselected names with no space for any other suggestion. She also questioned why the survey only asked respondents whether they had graduated from Park View or Bluestone and did not include the local historic high schools. Miller said that although she understood students were instrumental in choosing the three options, she believed that, as the taxpayers, adults should have had a voice.
“Our schools are still very dear to our hearts, even at our ages and stages in life,” Miller said. “Don’t we count?”
Miller also asked the board to set aside space in the new school for an archive of pictures and trophies from the historic schools and to name parts of the school, such as the auditorium and library, after former Mecklenburg County educators.
Bain Cameron also spoke to encourage the school board to choose a more imaginative name.
“Give this county an inspired future,” Cameron said. “Have some fun.”
After a motion by Board Member Brent Richey to delay the vote failed, board members Dale Sturdifen, Lindell Palmer, Gavin Honeycutt, Dora Garner, Glenn Edwards, and Kenneth Johnson voted to name the schools after the county. Wanda Bailey and Brent Richey voted against the motion. Rob Campbell was not in attendance.
Bailey said she could not vote for something that more than half of the survey respondents did not support, while Richey said he had no personal preference about the name.
“My concern is that there were people that felt left out of the process,” Richey said.
Kenneth Johnson said that several people had asked him what the new school was going to be named.
“Most people that I talked to said that all the other counties are naming their schools after the name of the county, and they said that they would like to see it named Mecklenburg, which I think that’s fair ‘cause it speaks for everybody that lives in this county, not just one,” Johnson said.
Billy Upton of Ballou Justice Upton Architects, the firm working on the new school, also gave the school board and audience a virtual tour of the school at the meeting. Upton said there is a lot of work to be done, but the project is going well.
“We are very much on track,” Upton said.
Superintendent Paul Nichols said the plan is to break ground in the late summer or fall. An upcoming survey will give people the opportunity to vote on a mascot.