New Box Elder elementary school

This screenshot from Google Maps shows the location of the former Bunderson Elementary School, in the Box Elder School District, where the new Golden Spike Elementary School will be built.

BRIGHAM CITY — A new elementary school in the Box Elder School District will be named Golden Spike, the district’s school board voted last week.

It will be the first school to take on the name, which is in reference to the 17.6-karat golden spike used to complete of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869. The site where the Central Pacific Railroad from Sacramento and the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha met is at Promontory Summit, located in Box Elder County.

“We are unifying and combining two schools, and I think it might be a fun name for the area,” said board member Nancy Kennedy at a Dec. 9 board meeting, when she proposed the name.

The new school will bring together students from Foothill and Mountain View elementary schools, reducing the number of elementary schools in Brigham City to three. This year, according to enrollment data from the Utah State Board of Education, there were 491 and 359 students at each school, respectively.

Construction on the building is taking place at the site of the former Bunderson Elementary School, which closed in 2010, at 641 E. 200 North in Brigham City. It is slated to be finished in 2022.

Prior to the school board’s decision, a committee convened to come up with potential names for the school. At a Dec. 9 meeting, the board signified it would reject many of the names and members proposed some suggestions of their own.

The board received at least six emails submitted as public comment that were critical of the naming process.

“We as parents took the time to come up with names we felt were suitable and took the time to vote on them as you suggested,” wrote one commenter, Angel Ringstad. “However you as the board have chosen to ignore the process. You chose to put us down over our choices, and then you decide a name for the school should be something that is not fitting in the least.”

Board member Karen Cronin countered the criticism, saying the school board, which has final say when naming a school, did not sponsor nor authorize the organization of the committee.

“The board members do respect the input from the committee, and ask that those who participated in providing the input also respect that the board members have input to the suggested list of names for the new elementary,” said Cronin.

Ultimately, the school board narrowed the selection down to seven names — Bunderson, Canyon Creek, Endeavor, Golden Spike, Peach Grove, Peach Valley and Snow. Three of the names were sourced from the committee, and four were proposed by the school board.

The day of the meeting, Superintendent Steve Carlsen sent out a ranked-choice survey on the new name to board members. The top three names, in order, were Canyon Creek, Peach Grove and Golden Spike.

When put to the board, it voted down the committee-proposed Canyon Creek as some board members complained that it was too generic, noting that there is another Canyon Creek Elementary School 40 miles to the south, in Farmington. A motion to consider Peach Grove did not receive a second.

Board member Wade Hyde said he favored the name Golden Spike, noting that five residents emailed him to advocate for the name. “They did like the name Golden Spike because they felt it was very historical for our area, and they were surprised that it’s never been used before,” he said.

The school board approved Golden Spike with a 5-2 vote.

As consolation for not going with one of the names thought up by the committee, the school board plans to organize a committee of its own, made up of educators and parents whose students will attend the school, to work toward coming up with a mascot.

“We don’t need to select the mascot for them, but I think that is our responsibility to select the name of the school,” said board member Julie Taylor.

All board members, throughout the discussion, said they would support whichever name was chosen, echoing comments from Cronin early on in the meeting.

“I truly hope that we as a board and we as a community will rally around whichever name is chosen and focus on the many wonderful opportunities that the new school will give our students in building their futures,” she said.

Contact reporter Emily Anderson at eanderson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @emilyreanderson.

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