by Rachel Minske
The new E-8 school in Otsego finally has a name.
The Elk River Area School Board approved during a special meeting March 27 the name Prairie View Elementary and Middle School for the district’s newest addition, set to open for the 2017-2018 year.
The name for the school, located near the intersection of MacIver Avenue Northeast and 80th Street Northeast in Otsego, was developed by a committee of parents and school officials. More than 30 people initially volunteered for the committee, but the group was whittled down to 12 parents, ensuring that each grade level was represented.
Kari Sampson, the incoming principal for the new school, took to Twitter following the School Board vote.
“It’s official- our school name is Prairie View Elementary and Middle School!” she wrote.
“It’s exciting,” Sampson said in a statement. “The name was really going to be inspired by Otsego’s history and its location in our district. There was a lot of feedback, and we felt this name represented the school well.”
To select a name, the committee sorted through a number of recommendations submitted online and through social media and emailed in by parents and community members. The committee also connected with local organizations and faith leaders to develop recommendations.
Committee members even considered district policy regarding the naming of facilities and fields and weighed name ideas for prominent citizens and district employees, historical importance and the surrounding geographical landscape.
Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp serves as the council liaison to the Otsego Heritage Preservation Commission, which was presented a list of possible naming options for input.
“We do have prairies in Otsego,” said Stockamp about the final name selection. “I think they did their due diligence to find a name that was fitting to represent the area.”
Stockamp said she is eager to see inside the school and, based on renderings, she thinks the building will turn out well.
“We’re excited to have the doors open and have another option for students in the school district,” she said.
Chair of the Otsego Heritage Preservation Commission Toni Seroshek said the commission preferred a more historic name and one with “Otsego” in the title, but Prairie View is representative of the region. She said the commission was asked to verify various historical facts for the committee.
Gail Anderson, also a member of the commission, said the commission is “very happy” about the final name.
“We have heard all the candidates and liked them all,” she said.
While not directly involved in the naming process, Joshua Fox, chair of the Elk River Heritage Preservation Commission, said the name fits very well with the history of Minnesota.
“It seems like a good name to me,” he said. “There’s a little bit of history to it.”
If the Elk River Heritage Preservation Commission was ever tasked with naming a building, there’s a good chance it would be named after a hockey player, Fox joked.
About the school
Sampson said during the School Board meeting this week that with a finalized name in place, the next step will include choosing a mascot.
Grade levels for the new school will be phased in over time, as follows:
•2017-2018: Serving students in early childhood education through grade six.
•2018-2019: Serving students in early childhood education through grade seven.
•2019-2020: Serving students in early childhood education through grade eight.
The school day at Prairie View will run from 8:15 a.m. to 2:55 p.m.