Edmond school board members Monday night approved the names for its new elementary schools.

Henceforth, the elementary school being constructed at 17601 N. Pennsylvania Ave. will be called West Field Elementary.

The elementary school that will be built on Coltrane north of Coffee Creek, slated to open in the fall of 2007, when Oklahoma turns 100 years old, will be called Centennial Elementary School.

A six-member committee reviewed the final 11 names, paired down from the original 42, said Lynn Rowley, Edmond Public Schools executive director of Elementary Education.

Starting in October the district invited submissions from the public.

The schools were to be named after a natural event, feature or features, as a memorial in honor of a deceased community member, state or national leader, an historical site or event, geographical locations or a significant landmark.

West Field Elementary School sits atop one of the most productive oil fields in the nation, the second-largest in Oklahoma.

Acting on a tip from a local farmer, who was convinced that oil existed beneath his property, West Field was discovered by wild-catter Ace Gutowski. Oilmen like Dean McGee developed the 37,000 acres, which contained some 900 operating wells, according to the school district.

In 1944 alone, the area produced 39,000 barrels a day and employed hundreds of workers who positively impacted Edmond’s economy.

“Naming the site West Field appropriately highlights the geographic location of the school and serves as a reminder of the importance of natural resources to our past and to our future,” Rowley said.

The naming of the elementary school, scheduled to open in the fall of 2007, will be a fitting way to mark the historic milestone, Rowley said.

On Nov. 16, 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state when at 9 a.m. a telegram from President Roosevelt was received. Roosevelt recommended that “Indian Territory and Oklahoma be admitted as one state.”

The third finalist, the name Jennie Forster, remains a possible candidate for a future school, said EPS Superintendent David Goin.

Forster was a catalyst for education in early Edmond, Rowley said.

Forster analyzed the education needs for the developing frontier town. She acquired materials for the first schoolhouse in Oklahoma Territory, opened in August of 1889.

She also was the first librarian for Edmond, and opened the city’s first library.

In other business, the school board:

n Hired a principal for West Field Elementary, Joe Pierce. Also, the board hired Kenneth Chamlee as the assistant principal for Memorial High School and Rebecca Cole as the assistant principal for Summit Middle School.

n Authorized administration to request MAPS for Kids monies for the installation of artificial turf on junior varsity fields not to exceed $650,000 each, a total of $1.95 million. Annual maintenance for grass fields, which includes mowing, fertilizing, painting and watering, costs the district an average of $38,300.

Associate Superintendent Bret Towne said the type of artificial turf being considered is made for year-round, 24-hour a day use. Yet to be determined are extras including security measures and logos on the fields. The third-generation turf has a lifespan of 15 years, and has an eight-year warranty, Towne said. Like other projects, there would be a bidding process.


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