Wake Ed

Picking Green Level and Pine Hollow as names for new Wake County schools

How does Green Level High School and Pine Hollow Middle School sound as the names for new Wake County schools?

As noted in today’s article, those were the names that the school board’s facilities committee voted Wednesday to recommend presenting to the full board. With six of the nine board members at the meeting, it’s more likely than not that the board will sign off on the recommendations when they’re officially presented in January.

The Green Level vote reflected how board members want to keep municipalities out of names of new schools. The Pine Hollow vote had far less discussion at the meeting.

Click here for a handout from staff listing the five choices for each school, along with the reasons why they were proposed.

Betty Parker, director of real estate services, said they’re recommending Southwest Cary High for H-7 to recognize the collaborative effort between the town and the school system at the site. The school, located along Green Level Church and Roberts roads, is adjacent to a town park.

But school board member Jim Martin pointed back to the November facilities committee meeting in which board members said they want to avoid naming schools after towns and people.

“I kind of doubt the town will call it Southwest Cary Park,” Martin said, adding that people from Cary and Apex will attend the school, which is located near the Chatham County line.

Joe Desormeaux, assistant superintendent for facilities, said the November discussion had left it unclear whether the board had made a definite decision. He said they decided to still recommend Southwest Cary because they had been working with the town on the park.

Martin asked Parker if the town intends to name the park as Southwest Cary Park. Parker said they don’t know what Cary intends to name it after other than the town usually names parks after people.

“It wasn’t meant in direct contravention to your discussion,” Parker said. “But we felt we were far down the road on this.”

Parker also noted how some town officials have backed the Southwest Cary name.

Board member Susan Evans said she shares Martin’s concerns, adding that Southwest Cary isn’t her favorite name for the school.

Superintendent Jim Merrill said staff is not set on the recommendation.

Martin said that he’d rule out Green Level because it was too close to Green Hope High’s name. He said that if he had to pick, he would choose White Oak or Anderson Ridge but conceded he didn’t know the community around the school well enough.

Evans said that White Oak Creek is a “stone’s throw away” from the school.

Martin asked board member Bill Fletcher for his opinion, citing his familiarity with Cary. Fletcher said he wanted to resolve this issue in the minimum amount of time.

Fletcher said that Green Level is a “great name,” but Southwest Cary would be fine too.

“I’m not heavily persuaded one way or the other,” Fletcher said. “It’s important that people have some sense of where the school is located based on the name. Green Level does that.”

Fletcher also dismissed confusion between Green Hope and Green Level. He pointed to how you’ve got Holly Ridge, Holly Grove and Holly Springs all as names in Holly Spring and “we survived that.”

Fletcher said he’d prefer Green Level but wouldn’t fight for it.

Board member Keith Sutton said he could go with either Green Level or Southwest Cary.

Board chairwoman Christine Kushner said she likes Green Level as well. But she said she didn’t want to undervalue the Town of Cary’s collaboration with the school system.

But Fletcher pointed to how Cary has helped with other sites such as Reedy Creek and Middle Creek without having its name on the school.

“I appreciate their cooperation,” Fletcher said. “I don’t think we have to stick the Cary name on everything.”

Evans said she initially thought that Green Level was too problematic but believes it’s the best name for the geographic area of the school. Evans said that Green Level is more identifiable than White Oak, which is also the name of an area in Garner.

Board member Kevin Hill, chairman of the facilities committee, said that since Green Level had varying degrees of support from everyone at the table that they vote on that name as opposed to the staff recommendation. The name Green Level was approved by the committee.

The discussion went a lot faster for the M-8 site in northwest Raleigh.

Of the five proposed, Pine Hollow is one of two new names to the group. Parker said the site is covered with pine trees and it’s down in a hollow.

Evans said she was fine with Pine Hollow unless they thought Sorrells Ridge, also new to the list, was a better choice.

Sutton said he’d be more comfortable with North Leesville because of the reference to the historic community, the reason given for the names for Green Level High and Apex Friendship High.

Parker said they’re not recommending Bartram Place because it would call attention to a road that residents by the school don’t want traffic to come donw on.

Martin made a motion to support staff’s recommendation and it was approved.