Wake County school board committee reconsiders new school names

Two future southwestern Wake schools could be named Willow Spring High and Buckhorn Creek Elementary after a Wake County school board committee reconsidered its previous decision.

The Wake County school board’s facilities committee agreed Wednesday to recommend Willow Spring High School as the name for the school that will be built near Old Honeycutt and Kennebec roads in Fuquay-Varina and Buckhorn Creek Elementary School for the school that will be built off Cass Holt and Avent Ferry roads in Holly Springs.

The Wake County school board is expected to make a final decision at its meeting Aug. 16.

The facilities committee previously recommended naming the eastern Fuquay-Varina school Kennebec Road High and the southwestern Holly Springs school Honeycutt Road Elementary after the roads that will be used to access the sites.

The Wake County school board approved Kennebec Road High School a week later, but eventually asked the facilities committee to reconsider the names of both schools, particularly after receiving a letter from Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne. Byrne wrote that the town’s commissioners unanimously support the name Willow Spring High.

Upon reconsideration, the facilities committee supported the town’s request to name the school after the nearby unincorporated area.

“We want to work with (municipalities),” said Jim Martin, a committee member, on Wednesday.

Staff had come up with four choices for the Fuquay-Varina school, including Kennebec Road and Willow Spring. The other two alternatives were:

▪ Black Creek High because of the site’s proximity to Black Creek, which is the nearest notable geographic or natural feature;

▪ Lakeview High because of the site’s close proximity to three lakes or ponds nearby, including Partin’s Pond.

On Wednesday, the committee also supported recommending Buckhorn Creek for the Holly Springs school, which will open in August 2018, after school district staff said the Honeycutt Road name could cause confusion. The future Willow Spring High is off Old Honeycutt Road.

“I’m personally not a big fan of having ‘road’ in the name of an elementary school,” Martin said. “Buckhorn Creek would be fine. It’s kind of fun. It’s neat. It’s geographically reasonable.”

This isn’t the first time school names have changed. In 2013, the school board voted to go with Apex Friendship High School after previously naming the new high school West Apex High School.

The other two alternatives for the Holly Springs school name were:

▪ Thomas Mill Elementary because of the site’s proximity to the location of the Thomas Mill, which was historically located along Buckhorn Creek;

▪ Wilbon Elementary because of the site’s proximity to the Wilbon community, which has been historically identified as centered upon at the intersection of Piney Grove Wilbon Road and Wilbon Road.

School staff also presented schematic designs for the new East Wake Middle School building, which is expected to be completed in 2020, and a new Cary middle school, which will be near Alston Ridge Elementary, in northwestern Cary. These middle schools would have similar floor plans to Mills Park Middle, Rolesville Middle and Holly Grove Middle.

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon