DILLON, SC (WMBF) – There is a chance the school that replaces J.V. Martin Junior High School in Dillon will not be named what has been planned.
The new school will be built beside Dillon High School, and leaders in the Dillon School District have said it would be named Dillon Middle School. However, some people in the area are supporting other ideas for the name.
At a recent school board meeting, a citizen suggested calling the new school Barack Obama Middle School. Some people say the name would be fitting because of the president's role in drawing attention and money to Dillon County schools.
Obama visited Dillon twice after student Tysheoma Bethea wrote to Congress about the physical condition of the multiple buildings that are part of J.V. Martin. The president used the school as an example of why the federal government should help local schools with construction costs.
In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the three school districts in Dillon County will receive $39.8 million in recovery act funds. Nearly $25 million of that money is going to Dillon School District 2, for a school to replace J.V. Martin Junior High.
Other people in Dillon have suggested sticking with the planned name of Dillon Middle School and including a plaque to honor the president and others involved in making the new school possible. It is very unlikely the new school will be called J.V. Martin because the current building will remain in place for other uses.
Dillon School District 2 Superintendent Ray Rogers said the school board will consider all input on the new school's name.
"If they're part of our community we need to listen, and we don't mind listening to whatever," Rogers said.
However, Rogers also said the biggest concern right now is finalizing the federal assistance so construction can begin.
"Ultimately [the school board] will decide about a name, but right now the big deal is to get the building built, and we're still in the working out the finance for all three school districts," Rogers said. "That is our main focus right now is getting that funding secured so that we can build it, and then the name will come after we can get all that done."
Rogers estimates is will take about a year and a half to build the new school. He anticipates it will be finished in time for the 2012-2013 school year.