Thank you voters

A sign at Hermiston High School thanks voters for their support of the bond that will build a new elementary school on Theater Lane.

It has been a couple of decades since Hermiston got to name a new school, but that chance has come again.

Hermiston School District is accepting submissions to name the new elementary school it plans to build in 2021 on East Theater Lane.

Current school district policy states that Hermiston school names must reference a famous American, the school’s location (for example, the street it is on or a nearby geographical feature), or a community member who has not been active in the school or community for at least five years. Other names can be submitted with a written justification of why they should be considered despite not fitting the above criteria.

None of Hermiston’s current elementary schools — Desert View, Rocky Heights, Highland Hills, West Park and Sunset — are named after a person.

The district’s only school named after a person is Armand Larive Middle School, named after a former superintendent who served Hermiston in the 1950s through 1970s. When the district asked for suggestions 25 years ago for what is now Sandstone Middle School, finalists included Henry Ott Middle School, Doris Bounds Middle School, Ed Bensel Middle School, Tom McCall Middle School, Hermiston Desert Middle School and Farm City Middle School.

Name suggestions can be sent in through an online survey at that will be open throughout the month of May. Once ideas are gathered, the school board will select finalists for the public to vote on.

“By opening the process up to the public, we expect to find names that are truly representative of Hermiston’s diversity and creativity,” Superintendent Tricia Mooney said in a statement. “Each school is a fundamental part of this community, and it’s important that the community is connected to each school.”

The new elementary school will be paid for by a bond passed by Hermiston voters in 2019. The $82.7 million bond plus $6 million state matching grant will also pay for a new annex on the high school, replacing Rocky Heights Elementary School with a larger building, improvement of traffic flow in front of schools and purchasing land for future growth.

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