It's official: Norton Commons Elementary name of new JCPS school
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Monday to name the district's newest school after the community in which it is located.
Norton Commons Elementary School will open at the start of the 2016-17 year. It is located in the northeastern part of Jefferson County.
"The name Norton Commons alludes to the history of the land, which was once owned by the Norton family, and also serves as a geographic reference," states the district's recommendation. "The rich history and community pride of the residents would be reflected in naming the school Norton Commons Elementary School."
The board voted 6-1, with school board member Chris Brady casting the opposing vote. Brady said he was concerned over having two elementary schools with the name Norton, noting that Norton Elementary School is located approximately three miles away.
"I worry about the confusion," Brady said, noting that the district already has two schools named Cochran and Cochrane, as well as two Kennedy Elementary schools. "I know that people have gotten confused and showed up at the wrong location for meetings and awards. The confusion is a concern."
Five people addressed the board over the naming of the school, including two former school board members Debbie Wesslund and Steve Imhoff.
Both Imhoff and Wesslund were on the school board when the board voted to build the school. On Monday, they spoke against naming the school Norton Commons Elementary.
"I am here to ask that you reconsider naming this school after the Norton Commons development," Wesslund said. "The Norton Commons land donation valued at $6 million for a school and a YMCA was generous and I advocated for accepting it. The board did its due diligence and conducted a comprehensive needs assessment before moving forward. You are building a beautiful $17 million school. You have made good on the original agreement."
Wesslund also noted that the school will serve more than the Norton Commons neighborhood.
Three residents of Norton Commons spoke in support of the name choice.
"Norton Commons is more than a commercial development, it is a community," said Marilyn Patterson. "We are excited to have this school in our community."
Steve Freeman said to name school "anything other than Norton Commons Elementary would really lose what we have tried to achieve."
"We are a diverse community," he said.
The school board also approved a plan for the assignment of students at the new school. The district will draw the boundary using only Chancey Elementary School's existing boundary area and there would be no changes to Zachary Taylor Elementary School students.
District officials said the recommended boundary has several advantages, including being the least disruptive and providing extra capacity within Cluster 10 for future growth," states the proposal.
The school will cost approximately $15 million to build and have a capacity of 650 students.
Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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