Grant Street Elementary School Principal Lisa Condran stands in front of the elementary school that will get a new building and new name for the 2018-19 school year. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Grant Street Elementary School Principal Lisa Condran stands in front of the elementary school that will get a new building and new name for the 2018-19 school year. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend board to consider name for new school in meeting tonight

PORT TOWNSEND — What will be the name of the new elementary school in Port Townsend — Chetzemoka, Kah Tai or something Salish?

The 68,000-square-foot building, which will replace the Grant Street Elementary School at 1637 Grant St., is expected to open at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

The Port Townsend School Board will consider selecting a name from five finalists when it meets at 6 p.m. today at the Gael Stuart Building, 1610 Blaine St.

The finalists were selected from 131 names submitted by community members, teachers and students.

“The committee narrowed it down to the top five. That was our job,” said Grant Street Elementary Principal Lisa Condran, one of the nine people on the school naming committee.

“That was our job, but ultimately it’s a School Board decision.”

The five finalists are:

• Chetzemoka Elementary, submitted by Kim Montgomery and her fifth-grade daughter, Fiona.

• Kah Tai Elementary, nominated by Shelly Murney.

• Salish Coast Elementary, which was nominated by the naming committee.

• Salish Sea Elementary, which was nominated by a group of teachers, students and parents including Karmen Meier, Allegra Bothell, Carrie Blair and Sarah Rubenstein.

• Salish Trails Elementary, which was nominated by Grant Street physical education teacher Sheri Shaw.

Name submissions were accepted starting in October through the first week of January. The naming committee, made up of teachers, community members and school staff, met three times to consider names.

On Jan. 11, the panel picked the top five names based on criteria the committee set in October.

Name submissions were required to either be based on a local geographic feature or a person of note.

Construction of the new school is budgeted at $26.5 million. The total cost — including permit fees, furnishings and other costs — is $40,085,000.

Funds will come primarily from a $40.9 million bond voters approved in February to fund construction of the new elementary school and make improvements to Port Townsend High.

The new school will be twice the size of the current Grant Street school and will house students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Fourth and fifth grades will move to the new school, and Blue Heron Middle School will adopt the traditional middle school configuration of sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

The current building, built in 1956, doesn’t support the current student population, school officials have said. The district has had to use portable classroom units to house classrooms for several years.

Once the new school is constructed, the old school will be demolished.

While the new elementary school will open with a new name, the mascot is expected to remain the same.

“I certainly hope to keep it,” Condran said. “It’s this beautiful eagle, but that might be a board decision too.”

________

Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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