As the construction of Moore County new schools progresses, the time has come to address the nomenclature of the new schools.

At Monday’s work session of the Moore County School Board, the process for naming the new schools in Pinehurst and Aberdeen was presented.

The method for both schools followed the same process. First, there was a meeting with community leaders followed by the creation of an online portal. A public comment session is scheduled for April 1 followed by board action at the April 8 regular school board meeting.

The Pinehurst Selection Committee has expressed a preference to retain the name Pinehurst Elementary School. In the ensuring discussion, Board Chairman Helena Wallin-Miller commented “that the teacher in the Pinehurst Group pointed out that they are not merging two schools.”

At Large Member, Ed Dennison added: “There is a great deal of pride in Pinehurst Elementary.”

The online portal, which will be open March 12-22, will contain a field for comments and a link to the history of Pinehurst.

Also discussed was the name for the new Aberdeen School being built on Hwy. 5. The four names initially presented for the Aberdeen School were:

Aberdeen Crossing Elementary School
Blue’s Crossing Elementary School
Pine’s Crossing Elementary School
Aberdeen Elementary School

Several board members pointed out that the Pine’s Crossing name did not receive a lot of support, and it seemed merely an attempt to come up with a fourth name. The Board directed the staff to drop that name from the list.

The online portal will have the remaining three names and a link to the history of Aberdeen. Board Chairman Helena Wallin-Miller pointed out that the online forum was not a vote but a desire to gather public input.

Also discussed was the naming of the Union Pines High School Greenhouse after former teacher Zachary McNeil.

McNeil loved teaching students about nurturing plants and animal husbandry. In his two years teaching at Union Pines, he took the lead in revitalizing the school’s Future Farmers of America and dreamed that the students would one day have a new greenhouse.

Funding was approved during McNeil’s tenure and was installed over the summer of 2017. Tragically he did not get to see it as he was killed in a car accident in 2016 at the age of 26.

Union Pines Teacher Zachary McNeil. Courtesy of Rogers-Pickard Funeral Home.

There was an online portal established and a community forum held at the Union Pines. Of the 110 responses, 100 percent was positive, and there was no mention of alternative naming. Additionally, 54 community members attended the community forum, and every one of them indicated their support for the proposal.

The board deferred action on the renaming pending input from McNeil’s family and will take action at a future board meeting.

Additional, Moore County Communications Director Catherine Murphy briefed the board on pending changes to the school’s website and school messenger.

The number one means of communication for the district is the website. The new system will provide unlimited support and staff training as well as an updated app and streamlining the process of updating events and school calendars.

The switch-over will occur over the summer with a planned period of implementation and migration.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is March 11.

Feature photo of December’s ground breaking ceremony of the new Aberdeen School courtesy of Moore County Schools.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.

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