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Gainesville students may help to name streets at new middle school campus
The new Gainesville Middle School, as seen on Saturday afternoon, is under construction off Jesse Jewell Parkway. The school board is set to discuss whether students may be able to put a personal touch on the new campus by submitting names for the streets. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan
GAINESVILLE — Elementary and middle school students in Gainesville city schools may have a say in naming streets on the new Gainesville Middle School campus.

Superintendent Steven Ballowe has recommended to the City Board of Education that students would be asked to submit the names to their principal by Feb. 28. The principal, in turn, would forward the suggestions to Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler.

The topic is set for discussion at the school board’s 5 p.m. work session, today at the board’s offices at 508 Oak St.

Ballowe also has recommended that administration send a recommendation form home with students by Wednesday.

The new school is being built off Jesse Jewell Parkway in the New Holland community and is set to open in fall 2009.

It will replace the aging and overcrowded Gainesville Middle at 715 Woods Mill Road.

Plans are to refurbish that building and possibly turn it into additional space for neighboring Gainesville High School.

In discussing the matter with Shuler, Ballowe said the City Council will name one city road on the campus.

Also, Shuler is receiving suggestions from the Gainesville Parks and Recreation department and the City Council, Ballowe added.

"The City Council would welcome additional suggestions from the school district, but any school district winner would not (have) the automatic name for the street," he said in a Jan. 28 memo to board members.

In other business Monday, the board plans to talk about the second phase of renovations at Bobby Gruhn Stadium in City Park.

In December, school officials met with the P.K. Dixon Field House committee to discuss expanding the project to include landscaping, paving and sidewalks.

"It was further discussed that the project begin immediately based on rising construction costs," Ballowe said in a Jan. 28 memo. "The goal was to complete the project by August."

The project is now estimated to cost nearly $2.3 million, up from the initial $1.5 million.

During the 2006-07 budget year, the school board agreed to match the $350,000 provided by City Council toward the project. The remaining amount will come from private contributions.

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