Berkeley names future school

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A yet-to-be built school in the Sheep Island Road area of Berkeley County near Summerville shall be known as Nexton Elementary School.
That’s what the Berkeley County School Board voted on April 23 at its regular meeting in Moncks Corner.
School board members Kent Murray, Phillip Obie, Shannon Lee, Kathy Schwalbe, Sheldon Etheridge, Frank Wright and Scott Marino voted in favor of the name, which passed with a majority. Board member Wilhelmina Moore voted against it and Doug Cooper was not present.
A committee made up of four school board members (Lee, Marino, Moore, Schwalbe), a few parents living closest to the area where the Nexton neighborhood will be developed, and a Mead Westvaco representative worked on narrowing a list of names that were suggested by committee and community members.
Schwalbe, the chair of the naming committee, said the list came down to three: Nexton Elementary, Pine Forest Elementary and Sheep Island Elementary.
Murray made the motion to name the school project currently known as Nexton-Sheep Island as Nexton Elementary, a motion seconded by Obie.
Moore asked to clarify whether Murray meant to name the school Nexton-Sheep Island or Nexton Elementary.
“Let me clarify. My motion is to name the school Nexton Elementary,” Murray said.
“The area, the road that goes through there and the community is Sheep Island,” Moore said. “It seems like Sheep Island would be more fitting or Nexton-Sheep Island Elementary School.”
“There’s a new development going in there named Nexton,” Obie said. “I think it’s only right to name the school Nexton Elementary so when people identify with that elementary school they’ll identify with the community in which it’s built, much like a lot of our schools we have built right now in Goose Creek and Hanahan.”
“I thought all three names are fantastic,” Murray said. “I especially liked Pine Forest. I had concerns over that name in particular. That has a connection to the old Pine Forest Inn in Summerville. I was concerned we may be taking a potential name from our neighboring school district Dorchester 2. This is not a complaint, the committee did do their work and did fabulous.
“The Pine Forest Inn was built in the 1880s or 1890s. Famous individuals such as President Teddy Roosevelt stayed there. So for me Pine Forest is not a good consideration. I think we may be stepping on the toes of our neighboring school district.
“Sheep Island . . . it did not appeal to me. I feel Nexton was the best choice.”
“One thing we discussed in the committee was possibly entertaining the idea of calling it an academy instead of an elementary,” Lee said. “That came up a couple of times. Something a little different. The name Nexton is very new and innovative. Academy seems a little prestigious.”
Mead Westvaco donated the land on which the school will be built.
“It was a very serious task,” Schwalbe said. “It was not easy. Fun, at times, but not easy, coming up with the name of a school. We remembered having to name our own children and how difficult that was.”
The school is expected to open its doors in August 2014 or 2015, according to a building plan the district presented in December.

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