Cherokee Bluff and Sidney Lanier are two names being considered for the new middle/high school set to open next year in South Hall, according to Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield.
The new middle/high school is scheduled to open in August 2018 on the site where Flowery Branch High School now sits. Flowery Branch will move back to where Davis Middle School is now and Davis will move to where South Hall Middle is currently located. South Hall will move back to its former home at the Academies of Discovery.
Schofield said he plans to present names for the school to the school board next month and then allow students and the community to pick the mascots and school colors for the new school.
“I would hope at an August meeting to bring up some names to the board that we’ve been talking about for the last year or so,” he said. “If they felt good about it, I would think we would move pretty quickly so they could spend this entire year as a community coming up with mascots and colors and all that we’re going to have to have to go along with that.”
The superintendent said his personal favorite name for the school at this point is Cherokee Bluff, taken from Cherokee Bluffs Park, which is near the school.
“The reason I like the singular is then it allows you to use a plural mascot without it becoming a tongue twister,” he said. “It also is the closest park within a mile or two of that campus.”
Schofield said he also likes the name Sidney Lanier, which would recognize the man for whom Lake Lanier is named. Lanier was a poet, musician and author, and a soldier and prisoner of war as a member of the Confederate Army.
“It certainly fits in terms of where we are, of course, with the center of Gainesville Hall-County being the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi, Lake Lanier,” Schofield said.
The administrative staff for the new school is also beginning to take shape. Wes McGee was hired in May as the principal of the high school and Schofield said Carol Summer was recently hired as assistant principal.
McGee, who had been the principal of Habersham Central High School for four years prior to taking the job, will work out of both Flowery Branch and Johnson high schools during the 2017-18 school year. McGee is a former East Hall teacher and administrator.
Summer, who formerly worked at Flowery Branch, was the Work-Based Learning coordinator for the Barrow County School System before taking the job with the new high school
“She has a great background in organization and scheduling,” Schofield said of Summer. “We’ll probably have her moving around a little bit between the high schools and middle schools as we start to see what the choice situation looks like in terms of what people are going to request and beginning to create master schedules. They’ll be moving around and they’ll be an extra set of hands, but their primary duty will be getting ready for 2018.”