Urbandale School Board Approves Name for New Elementary School

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Construction underway at Urbandale Community Schools new elementary school. (WHO-HD)

Data pix.

URBANDALE, Iowa -- Monday night the Urbandale School Board approved the name Millard A. Olmsted for the new elementary school. It is the same area where the previous school named after Olmsted once stood.

Communications Manager Dena Quist said the name was presented to the board by a naming committee that was established earlier in the fall.

Courtyard at new elementary school on Olmsted property. (Courtesy Urbandale Schools)

“There is always some tie to the community. As a naming committee, we all looked at the ties to our various elementary schools and their names are either tied to an individual or it's tied to an actual neighborhood,” Quist said.

Olmsted was instrumental in both the development of the city of Urbandale and its school district.

Other names on the shortlist included Justin S. Martin, who was an Urbandale police officer shot and killed in the line of duty in 2016 while serving the community. Peggy A. Whitson was also on the list. Whitson is a retired NASA astronaut from Iowa who holds the record for most total days in space by a United States astronaut.

Urbandale resident John Hollebrands said he voted for Olmsted.

“It carries on the tradition. That building name has been in that location forever, and there will be no confusion about what’s being talked about,” Hollebrands said.

Classroom and open layout at new elementary school on Olmsted property. (Courtesy Urbandale Schools)

In addition, the naming committee also recommended honoring Isabell Jensen by naming the courtyard area in her name. Jensen Elementary will be closed in a few years. The board approved the recommendation.

Quist said the naming committee also recommended incorporating Martin and Whitson with an art display in the main entrance for their honor. The board decided to table the recommendation and speak with the principal on honoring both Iowans in the building in another way.

The new Olmsted Elementary is on track to open for the 2021-2022 school year.

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