Walker County kicked off construction of its new K-8 school by finally giving it a name: Saddle Ridge.
The name was announced Tuesday afternoon at a groundbreaking ceremony that drew about 50 people to the 100-acre construction site between U.S. Highway 27 and Arnold Road near Rock Spring, Ga.
Saddle Ridge doesn’t refer to any nearby geographical feature.
“It’s just something brand new,” district spokeswoman Elaine Womack said.
That newness is one reason why school board members selected Saddle Ridge from roughly 75 names suggested on the school district’s website, Womack said.
That, and board members just liked the ring of it, she said.
The person who suggested the winning entry will get the satisfaction of coining a catchy school name, but no official recognition or prize. People suggested school names anonymously.
“That’s why we did not keep names. We said it was not a contest,” Womack said.
Saddle Ridge is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.
“After 20 years of rebuilding and renovating existing schools ... we are very excited to provide a brand new facility to serve students in a new way,” school board Chairwoman Patty Hart said in a statement.
The 115,000-square-foot facility will serve 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The school is designed for project-based learning, with open multipurpose areas suited for group work and presentations. The elementary and middle school academic wings will share common administrative areas such as the cafeteria, media center, music rooms and a gymnasium with a stage.
The projected cost for the completed complex is $16.5 million and is funded through education special local option sales tax revenue and state money.
The district bought the site from the Arthur Talley family. Gladys Talley was a retired educator who taught in Walker County schools.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.