Polk County Public Schools is asking the community for help in naming a new elementary school being built in the Mulberry area.
The school will be located at 4815 Bailey Road and is expected to be open for the start of the 2021-22 school year. The 127,000-square-foot school will have capacity for approximately 1,000 students.
It will serve the existing student population at Kingsford Elementary and provide enrollment relief to James W. Sikes and R. Bruce Wagner elementary Schools. Kingsford, built in 1962, has no room left for expansion and is need of major renovations; it could be modernized or repurposed in the future. The cost of the new school is $34 million.
After researching the history of the surrounding area, a naming committee comprised of school, district and community leaders has proposed two possible names for the school.
Voting will close Oct. 21.
The possible names are:
- Poley Bridge Elementary — The first school in the area was the Poley Bridge School. It was built before 1885 in the area where Poley Creek runs under State Road 60. There was a bridge over the creek, which was near the school. The students may have very well used the bridge to walk to school. Poley Bridge School closed when Willow Oak School opened in 1888.
- Willow Oak Elementary — Willow Oak is one of the oldest communities in Polk County. The original school opened in 1888 and was constructed on property that included a grove of willow oaks. Soon after, the community adopted the name as well. Willow Oak School was what was known as a “strawberry school.” It operated from April to December so that students would be able to help their families in the fields during the strawberry harvest. The school closed on Dec. 19, 1944.
After the poll closes, the results will be reviewed by the naming committee and a vote will be taken. The selected name will be recommended to the superintendent and then to the Polk County School Board for approval.