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Board shoots down Hubble

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By Nathan L. McBroom

The road to the school district's new educational campus still doesn't have a name.

But that's not because the committee assigned to task didn't try.

Last Thursday night the Shelby County School Board rejected a community-based committee's recommendation to name the road "Hubble Boulevard," in honor of Edwin Powell Hubble.

Hubble was a Rhode's scholar who lived in Shelby County for a summer and went on to make monumental discoveries in the astronomy and physics. NASA later named a telescope after him.

The board tabled the recommendation and asked the committee to reconvene and come up with another name.

The committee, which was appointed by Superintendent James Neihof, was given the task of generating and soliciting names for the road from people in the community, discussing the names submitted, and then making a collective recommendation to the board.

It included elected officials, community leaders, district personnel, a current student, and School Board member Doug Butler, who despite being the board representative on the committee led the attack on its recommendation.

"I think we need something more contemporary," Butler said. "I have no agenda here. And I don't care what we name it. But we're just not going to name it Hubble."

Butler did not voice his displeasure with the committee's recommendation during their meetings because he did not attend either of them, though Butler was notified of both.

Despite his absence, Butler did submit his recommendations before the second meeting, but they did not make the top three choices.

Though Butler said he would abstain from a vote on the recommendation, he repeatedly voiced his dislike for the proposed name of the road.

"I know many people worked hard on this. I appreciate their effort. But perhaps we can work a little harder," he said.

Board member Eddie Mathis agreed. "I don't like naming it after a person," he said.

Duanne Puckett, Community Relations Coordinator, told the board that the committee followed the guidelines for naming the road as submitted to them.

In the original guidelines, the committee was told "the name can be in honor of an individual from Shelby County or with Shelby County ties."

The guidelines have since been changed to prohibit proper names.

The district's goal was to have the name ready for the architects by Oct. 15 because an address is needed for the delivery of construction materials.

The new school campus is on the north side of Shelbyville Road across from Walnut Way Farm. The school district purchased 110 acres on which three facilities will be built, with the first being a secondary center for Grades 8-9 to be opened by 2010.

The boulevard for the new school campus is currently being constructed.