STONINGTON — The consolidated middle school will be named Stonington Middle School, the Board of Education decided unanimously Thursday.
Citing declining enrollment and the possibility of offering better academic choices for students, the board voted on Jan. 11 to consolidate Pawcatuck Middle School and Mystic Middle School into the Mystic building, which is large enough to hold both school populations.
Representing the Middle School Steering Committee at Thursday’s meeting, Tim Smith, principal of Pawcatuck Middle School, said choosing the new name involved a two-step process.
The first of two surveys asking for name suggestions went out to middle school students and parents, and gleaned more than 700 responses, he said.
The committee broke the responses into five categories. The first category, representing 55 percent of the responses, comprised variations on Stonington, such as Stonington Middle School, which received 355 votes. Receiving 15 votes a piece were Stonington Junior High and Stonington Cubs Middle School.
At 6 percent of the responses, the second category comprised variations on “Mystic,” such as Mistuxet Middle School and Mystic Junior High. Other variations included keeping Mystic Middle School as is. or adding “of Stonington” to the name. “Mystic Middle School 2.0” also received 22 votes.
Representing 5 percent of the responses were names combining Mystic with Pawcatuck, such as Pawmystonian and Pawtic. Others included Pawcatuck Mystic Middle School and Mystic Pawcatuck Middle School. An acronym, MAPS, stood for Mystic and Pawcatuck Middle School. M&P Middle School was also in the mix.
Three percent of the responses were inspired by local features, with names such as Ocean Academy or Ocean Community Middle school, Anchor Middle School, Charles Morgan School, Harbor Heights, Harbor lights, Stonepoint, Stonewater, Pinewood, Pequot, and Peasant Park Middle School.
Comprising 2 percent of the suggestions were names of notable residents: Walter Palmer, George McKenna, Andrew Rines, Nathaniel Palmer, Jeremiah Holmes, James Sisk, William Regan, William Chesebrough and Josh Piver.
The second survey offered three names based on the highest frequency of the initial ideas: Stonington Middle School, Nathaniel Palmer Middle School, and Mistuxet Avenue Middle School.
With 78 percent of the vote, Stonington Middle School was the first choice. Smith said the two surveys attracted 1,463 responses.
The name change will take effect in September 2019, when the consolidation is implemented. At that time, the administration will move to Pawcatuck Middle School and the Central Office building will be closed.
A reported dated Jan. 6 showed that the consolidation would save about $800,000 through salary cuts. The consolidation will also require about $800,000 in improvements to Mystic Middle School, including additional parking, upgraded air-conditioning and more lunch tables. The report also showed a possible gain of $800,000 if the Central Office were sold.