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Name that school
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Newton County's 13th elementary school and fifth middle school being constructed just south of McGiboney Road on Salem Road will soon have names.

Board of education members requested community residents suggest names for the new schools by submitting them to Superintendent Steve Whatley's office.

At the Dec. 11 board meeting, board members reviewed the 14 names proposed.

"We said tonight we would have each individual member naming up to six names for the elementary and middle school for consideration," Whatley said at Tuesday's BOE meeting.

Board member C.C. Bates said she preferred the name Mills Creek for both the elementary school and middle school.

Cathy Dobbs, board member, agreed with Bates about Mills Creek.

"I like Mills Creek, too, because it's right there on Mills Drive, for my elementary choice," Dobbs said.

She said she liked Timber Ridge or Tall Oaks for the name of the middle school.

"There are a lot of big oak trees there," Dobbs said.

Board member Rickie Corley said he was partial to the name Salem for both the elementary school and the middle school.

"I like it because of the historical nature of the neighborhood out there," Corley said.

Almond Turner, board vice chair, also preferred Salem or Salem Heights for the elementary school name, and agreed with Bates about Mills Creek for the middle school.

"The problem I have with naming a school Salem," Dobbs said, "is that people would get it confused with Rockdale."

The Rockdale County School System has a Salem High School.

She then suggested perhaps naming the schools Salem Camp Elementary or Middle so it would distinguish the schools from the Rockdale system as well as address the historical significance of the Salem Campground, which is very near the construction site

Board Chair Johnny Smith liked the names Mills Creek Elementary and Timber Ridge Middle.

Whatley then thanked the board members for their review of the suggested names and said the board will still welcome community input on the names selected Tuesday by the board.

"We will vote next Tuesday," Smith said, "and the schools will then have names."

New elementary school 13 is scheduled to open for the 2008-2009 school year this summer and new middle school five is scheduled to open in the summer of 2009.

On Dec. 21, the board closed the purchase of 139.4 acres on Stewart Road off of the east side of Ga. Highway 162 for the construction of one of the five schools scheduled to be built in the next five years.

The purchase price of the land was reportedly $2.1 million at a cost of $15,000 an acre.