The seventh Hall County middle and high schools, set to open next August, may get a new name later this month, and Superintendent Will Schofield told board members Monday night he leans toward the name Cherokee Bluffs.
But one resident of a community that had sought to have its neighborhood included in the attendance zone for the new schools expressed concern about the proposed name, saying Cherokee Bluffs Park, like his neighborhood, isn’t actually in the attendance zone for the new school either.
Schofield brought up the issue of the school name for discussion only at Monday’s school board meeting. He said he hopes the board will vote on a name at its next meeting Aug. 28. The district had sent out surveys asking for preferences among those living in the attendance zone from a list of suggested names.
Schofield said Spout Springs received “probably 20 percent more votes” than Cherokee Bluffs, but he and others are concerned about identity issues for the new middle and high schools that could come from being named the same as a current elementary school. He said there was also concern since some students at Spout Springs School of Enrichment would not be in the attendance zone for the new middle and high schools.
“With Spout Springs Elementary being divided between two middle schools, you have the potential with the Spout Springs name to say, ‘We don’t go to Spout Springs; why do you call us Spout Springs Elementary?’ I think that could be something that could work divisively in terms of Spout Springs,” Schofield said. “The third (concern) is we’ve heard people say, ‘Well, Cherokee Bluffs isn’t even that (attendance) district. It doesn’t really matter. It is a park that is well-known in that area. It is a beautiful park. I’m just telling you at this point, I would still lean toward Cherokee Bluffs in the plural, but that’s just where I am.”
Schofield had said last month that he liked the singular name, Cherokee Bluff, but said Monday night, plural names in other schools seem to work fine with mascot names.
Craig Lutz, a former county commissioner and resident of Sterling on the Lake in South Hall, said redistricting for the new schools was a “painful process” for those living in Sterling who had wanted to see their neighborhood included in the attendance zone for the new middle and high schools. Lutz added that, like Sterling, the park located near the neighborhood, is not in the new school’s attendance zone.
“I would say it would be sore to a lot of people for it to be Cherokee Bluffs; that park doesn’t feed into that school,” Lutz said. “As fresh as that is on everybody’s mind, renaming the high school and of course, not giving our community an opportunity to have a say in it, was also very difficult. It’s just been a tough process for all the people in the neighborhood.”
Board Vice Chairman Craig Herrington said he was getting more comfortable with the name.
“The park is not the entire area,” Herrington said. “The entire area would be considered the Cherokee Bluffs area. The park represents the area.”
The new middle and high schools are scheduled to open next August on the site where Flowery Branch High is now located. Flowery Branch is moving back to its original home where Davis Middle School is currently located, and Davis is moving to the building that currently houses South Hall Middle. South Hall is scheduled to move back to its former home at the Academies of Discovery, near Johnson High School.