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At last, schools will have names

Kim Grengs doesn't much care what Farmington's newest elementary school is called when it opens next fall. She's just excited for it to have a name.

Grengs is principal of that new building, but since coming to the district over the summer it's sometimes been difficult to explain what she does. Her office is in the Farmington Kindergarten Center and she oversees that building this year, but that's not why she was hired. She's working to make the transition to the new building as smooth as possible, but the office she'll eventually occupy in that building is currently being used by someone else.

"It'll just be nice so when people ask about it you can give it a name," Grengs said. "Right now I have to explain everything."

Grengs is one step closer to having a name to hand out. By this time next week she might officially be the principal of Rambling River Elementary School. Or Edgewater Elementary. Or maybe Bridgewood or Akasanpa Elementary.

Those were the four names submitted to school board Monday as finalists for the new elementary school. That last one, in case you're wondering, means across or over the river. According to its submitter it was meant both as recognition of the school's location near the Vermillion River and as a way to honor to the area's Dakota heritage.

Board members also heard finalists Monday for the current Farmington Middle School West and the current Farmington High School, both of which will serve as sixth- through eighth-grade middle schools starting next fall.

All of the names presented Monday began as submissions from district residents or school employees. Teaching and learning director Steve Dibb said the district's naming committee received 20 or 30 suggestions for each building. Naming committee members met last week to narrow the field to three finalists for the current high school and four for each of the other buildings, both of which had Edgewater as one of its finalists.

"There were some really good submissions," Grengs said.

The finalists for the current FMS West building are Vermillion Middle School, Edgewater Middle School, Kakanpi Middle School (the name means "Fabulous" in Dakota) and Clear Lakes Middle School.

The finalists for the current high school building are Robert Boeckman Middle School, Denmark Middle School and Prairie View Middle School.

Boeckman was the district's superintendent from 1969 to 1989 and led the district when the current high school building was opened.

"He was here every day," board chair Julie McKnight said.

Now 81, Boeckman's name was submitted on a petition signed by 95 district staff members and Farmington residents.

District policy allows the board to name buildings after people as long as the person who has "attained local or national prominence via significant contributions in any field of endeavor.... Further, the individual ... must be shown to have broad-based, long term impact to the school district."

The school board is expected to make a decision on school names at its Nov. 24 meeting.