School board reviews name suggestions for new high school
If it’s left up to district patrons, Minot’s new high school will have a northern flavor.
Minot Public School District Superintendent Mark Vollmer said around 1,500 people cast votes earlier this week in an online district survey asking for suggestions for a new name for the new 9-12 high school which is slated to be completed in the fall of 2024. Voters approved a bond issue last year that will fund renovation and new construction at the site of the former Cognizant office building, located at 2000 21st Avenue NW. Cognizant donated the property to the district for the nominal fee of $10, which will save the district a considerable amount of money on the project.
About 45 percent of the suggestions had “North” in the title, according to Vollmer.
The top votes went to Minot North High School, North Hill High School, North Minot High School, Great Northern High School, which gives a nod to the Great Northern Railroad; Northside High School, North Ridge High School, North Plains High School, Minot Northern Lights, North Prairie High School, and North Star High School.
Other suggestions also referenced “north” such as Minot Northbound High School, Northern Heights, Northern Neighbor, Northern Sky, Northview High School, Northwest High School, Northwood High School or North Valley High School. Others referenced the striking view of the site on north hill, such as Ridgeline High School, Skyline High School or Prairie Sky High School.
“It’s fun,” Vollmer commented, joking that if school administrators had known how much fun the naming process could be, they would have built a new high school years ago.
Other suggestions would honor prominent Minot residents such as the late Chester Reiten, founder of the Norsk Hostfest, or beloved educator Lowell Latimer or longtime state attorney general Wayne Stenehjem, both of whom recently passed away. Another person suggested honoring Lee Fahler, a Minot police officer who died in the line of duty in 1921 when he was shot by a whisky smuggler.
Another person suggested that former President Donald Trump should be honored with the school name.
Some suggestions, Vollmer said, were so inappropriate that he decided to omit them from the list of school name suggestions he presented to the board.
Other people offered suggestions for the school mascot for the new high school. About 55 votes went to the Eagles; 31 votes went to the B-52s; 27 votes went to the Falcons; 24 votes went to the Bombers; 24 votes went to the Jets; 20 votes went to the Vikings; 19 votes went to the Bulldogs; 19 votes went to the Wizards; 16 votes went to the Moose; 15 votes went to the Lynx; 14 votes went to the Dragons; 13 votes went to the Stars; 12 votes went to the Night Hawks.
School board members took the suggestions under advisement and said they will make a final choice in the coming months.
School board members also approved the sale of $91.99 million in general obligation school building bonds for the upcoming projects and also unanimously approved a resolution providing for participation in the School Bond Credit Enhancement Program and unanimous approval to apply for a school construction loan.
Anne Wuollet, the senior managing consultant for PFM Financial Advisors, LLC, told the board that the district would still have the flexibility to levy up to $109 million in bonds for the project if need be.
“We don’t expect that interest rates are going to be coming down any time soon,” Wuollet remarked, noting that markets are volatile due to the current situation.
Business manager Scott Moum said the $92 million in bonds sold will actually generate about $99 million in revenue.
The board also discussed staffing needs for the district. They approved positions for two new counselors and two part-time positions at the high school.
Board member Miranda Schuler said she would approve adding the new positions but noted that the district will also need to staff a new high school and a third in-town middle school. In addition to the second 9-12 high school that will be constructed at the Cognizant site, the project will also include converting Magic City Campus into a 9-12 high school and converting Central Campus into a third in-town middle school. Schuler said she will be looking for the district to be frugal in the coming months.