The voted Thursday night to name the new elementary school on Hunt Road after a local waterway, despite pleas from two members of the Hunt family to name the building after their grandfather, who owned the property for more than 100 years.
The new school will be named Clark Creek Elementary School, after a creek that runs behind the ruins behind the property. However, relatives of Jasper Lafayette Hunt said they wanted the school named for the man who farmed that property for more than a decade.
“It’s a perfectly nice creek, but we have creeks all over the place in Cherokee County,” said Christine Hunt, Jasper Hunt’s granddaughter-in-law. “I have creeks on my property.”
Clark Creek Elementary School will be the site of one of the .
“It’s my understanding that we’re wanting to train people for jobs that people are lacking on now,” Christine Hunt said. “They’re not educated for them– science, tech, engineering and math. I don’t see what the creek would have to do with that.”
According to school board policy FDC, if a building is named for an individual, that person must be a deceased outstanding civic or educational leader of local, state or national prominence. Peggy Cloer, Jasper Hunt’s granddaughter, said she’s heard that a family of Clark’s lived in the area in the 1940s.
“If you name it Clark Creek, how can you prove that this Clark was an outstanding civic or educational leader?” Cloer said.
The school district received 43 acres of the property as donation from Centennial Lake Partners, who bought it from the estate of Irene Hunt. Officials later purchased another 14 acres from another member of the Hunt family. There was no discussion at the time of naming the school for the Hunt family, said Brian Hightower, assistant superintendent for school operations.
“It’s not been the board’s policy to name after someone who owned the property,” Hightower said. “We feel good about the Clark Creek choice. It is a significant geographical feature in that area.”
Several schools, such as , have been named for creeks that run through the county, officials said.
“Frankly, we have a lot of creeks in this county,” board member Kim Cochran said.
While the school won’t be named for Jasper Hunt, board members said they would like to look into honoring the man in some way, whether it be a plaque, a memorial garden or naming the school’s media center for him.
“I would very much like to honor this man with a library or something,” Cochran said.
The board also voted to hire Choate Construction to build the replacement. Choate was one of three contractors that tied with the highest score after being evaluated on criteria such as integrity, general contractors experience, price, history and completeness and accuracy of its proposal. It won the bid because it had the lowest bid of the three.
“These are all excellent contractors,” Superintendent Frank Petruzielo said. “They can all do great work, and a couple of them have in the past. You want to be in the (position) that we’re in where these folks are competing to give us the best price. We’re always in the hunt for people who will give us the kind of quality that we have come to expect at the lowest possible price.”
The new school is .
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