Wake Ed

Wake County school board committee suggests names for new schools

Kennebec Road and Honeycutt Road could be added to the list of names used for Wake County schools.

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

Both recommendations came after board members debated the options that were presented by staff.

“No, no, no,” school board member Bill Fletcher, chairman of the committee, said after the suggestion was made of bringing multiple names to the full board to consider. “We’re going to decide this in here. We’ve got more important things to do than to fight over names at the board table.”

The first name the committee tackled on Wednesday was for the new elementary school, now called E-45, in Holly Springs. There were four options:

▪ Honeycutt Road Elementary because it identifies the road from which the school will be accessed;

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

▪ 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 board member Christine Kushner said she liked naming schools after historic communities. But she said that Wilbon is close to the name of Wilburn Elementary School in Raleigh.

Fletcher added that the Wilbon Road intersection is 1.5 miles away from the site.

School board member Kevin Hill suggested Honeycutt because the school’s entrance is off that road. Kushner said that the name is “clean.” Fletcher said he’s go for Honeycutt Road, drawing agreement from Hill and Kushner.

The committee moved on to naming the new high school, now called H-13, near Fuquay-Varina. There were four options:

▪ Kennebec Road High because it identifies the road from which the school will be primarily accessed;

▪ Willow Spring High because the site is located near the unincorporated community of Willow Spring;

▪ 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.

Fletcher said at this weekend’s high school graduations it had been suggested to him that a school serving Fuquay-Varina should have the town somewhere in its name.

Fletcher said that Willow Spring is an “interesting animal” considering how it’s called Willow Springs in Johnston County and Willow Spring in Wake County.

Fletcher said there’s also a Lakeview High in Durham.

Fletcher asked for thoughts on which name to use.

Brian Conklin, Wake’s senior director for facilities, design & construction, said several residents who attended a community meeting suggested using Kennebec.

“It’s certainly unique compared to all of the Green’s and Holly’s that we have around,” Fletcher interjected.

Conklin added that residents at the meeting told him they didn’t want Fuquay-Varina to be used in the name.

Fletcher said that Kennebec Road is “a perfectly fine name.” But he also admitted that using road names “always seem boring.”

Joe Desormeaux, assistant superintendent for facilities, stepped in to say that using Willow Spring in the name may give the impression that everyone from Willow Springs Elementary would go to the high school. Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore added that Willow Springs Elementary isn’t on the same campus as the new high school.

At this point, Fletcher said he’d prefer Kennebec as he asked for committee feedback. Hill responded that using Kennebec would match the criteria used for selecting Honeycutt as the name of the elementary school.

School board member Susan Evans, who had arrived late, said she wasn’t “crazy” about using Kennebec.

“It doesn’t roll off the tongue that great,” Evans said of Kennebec.

Evans asked how the discussion had gone on using Willow Spring as the name. After recapping the discussion, Fletcher said they should use the name of the road that will lead people to the school. He said putting Willow Spring in a GPS won’t take someone to the high school.

The committee agreed to go with Kennebec Road High.

Since Evans wasn’t there during the E-45 discussion, Fletcher walked Evans back through the process that led to the recommendation of Honeycutt Road.

Betty Parker, senior director for real estate services, was expected to give the presentations for both school names but she had arrived late. Parker said the Holly Springs planning director had a slight preference of using Buckhorn because Honeycutt Road in Holly Springs is a fairly short road while Old Honeycutt Road borders H-13 and the future E-35 elementary school site in Fuquay-Varina.

But Parker said she wouldn’t be opposed to using Honeycutt as the name if that’s what the board prefers.

Fletcher asked if the committee wanted to reconsider the use of Honeycutt. But Fletcher said that he didn’t think it would matter because Fuquay-Varina is 10 to 12 miles away from the Holly Springs school.

Kushner said she was switching her support to using Buckhorn because Old Honeycutt Road is also associated with the H-13 high school. She also said there are a number of schools named after geographic features such as creeks.

Evans said she would also support using Buckhorn but liked Wilbon as well.

Fletcher shot down a suggestion from Kushner to bring both Honeycutt and Buckhorn to the full board for consideration.

“Given all the Green’s that we have and all the Holly’s that we have, I’m really not concerned about the Honeycutt Road name being in two different places,” Fletcher said.

Evans said that she still preferred Buckhorn but Kushner said that, in the interest of moving forward, she’d support using Honeycutt. The result is the committee stuck with the Honeycutt recommendation.

The names could go to the full school board for a vote as soon as Tuesday. But there’s still hope for people who want Wake to use one of the other choices, or even a new option.

Last July, the school board voted to go with Rogers Lane Elementary School as the name for a new school in Raleigh after the facilities committee had recommended calling it Anderson Point Elementary. The board was swayed by a speaker who showed up at the meeting to urge the name switch.

There was also the controversy in 2013 when the school board voted to go with Apex Friendship High School as the name after having previously picked West Apex High School.