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February 13, 2003 Meeting Notes

School Naming Task Force
Moorhead Area Public Schools
7:30 p.m. February 13, 2003

Members Present:

Carol Ladwig,
Maggie Rousseau,
Brad Holschuh,
Jeff Offutt,
Denise Paulson,
Sandee Rasmussen,
Jeanne Aske,
Roger Erickson,
Lauri Winterfeldt-Shanks,
Steve Scheel,
Mark Meister,
Lyn Dwyer.

Members Absent:

Bryce Haugen and Matt Naugle.


Mark Peihl, Clay County Historical Society.

District Representative:

Pam Gibb, communications coordinator.

Call to Order

Aske called the meeting to order and shared a draft of a timeline. The meetings will have a time for communications where the task force members can share comments and feedback they have heard. At the first three or four meetings, presentations will provide the task force members with background information.


Task force members reviewed the minutes. Hearing no additions or corrections the minutes stand as written.

Presentation: Mark Peihl, Clay County Historical Society

Mark Peihl from the Clay County Historical Society presented a slideshow to give the task force members background about the early years of Moorhead. Peihl shared the importance of the Red River to the community, including the history of the river's name and the uses of the Red for activities such fishing, swimming, canoeing, and ice for ice boxes.

Fargo-Moorhead developed when the Northern Pacific Railway came through. The communities were named after people on the board of directors for the railroad (William G. Moorhead). Moorhead was a center for steamboats going north on the Red. Peihl shared information about the steamboats Pluck, Dakota, Manitoba and International that ran on the Red River.

In 1959 the course of the river was changed to allow for the building of the dam. Fifty Moorhead families had to move, and North Dakota grew by 13 acres. Peihl also shared information about the floods in the area and the bonanza farms.

Committee members asked about early residents connected to the schools. Peihl spoke about Sharp, who worked to convince local people to support the sale of bonds for schools. An early school was named after Sharp. Comstock and Probstfield were also mentioned. He told the task force members that Eleanor Rushfeldt from Hawley was the first woman county office holder. She was the superintendent of schools for the county. Peihl was asked if he knew of an Edna Peterson. The gym at Lincoln was named for her. Peihl indicated that he would see if he could find out who she was.


Aske asked if there was anything people wanted to share. It was mentioned that there had been a question about whether students would have an opportunity to be involved in the naming process.


Task force members were given information from the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Moorhead and the school district that shows the image that is being projected of Moorhead and the district by these organizations. Aske shared the titles of two books, "A Century Together" and"Climate Architects," and two photo books, "Common Waters" and "An Image of Moorhead," that provide history and information about the community. She indicated that task force members could read these books for background information.


No changes were made to the guidelines discussed at the first meeting.

Form and Timeline

There was discussion about having the suggestion form out to the community sooner if it is approved. The tentative timeline indicated the form would be available from March 14-28. It was felt that waiting a month to release the form would delay when the task force could begin discussing names.

The committee discussed having a two-week submission period for suggestions since most suggestions will come in either the first few days or the last few days. It was felt that by having the form available earlier the deadline could be earlier. This could build on the interest people currently have in the naming process. Task force members would be given a few copies of the form to distribute. Suggestions were made to make the form available through KidSource, at the library, and at the schools, and to have an article in the newspaper. Aske said that people should be encouraged to fill out the suggestion form online.

Steve Scheel indicated that having the form out at the beginning of March would allow the task force to begin considering names earlier and give the task force a few day to test the names as Mark Meister had suggested at the first meeting. There was discussion about what would be discussed at the upcoming meetings since the name suggestions will not be available. Presentations on the Comstock and Probstfield families are planned. If he is available, Bob Jernberg might be able to speak about the history of the district from 1950 to the present. The architect working on the two new schools will be asked to present as well. It was mentioned that earlier discussion of the names would allow time for work on the final report to meet the suggested deadline of May 1.

It was asked if the task force could be given updates as to how many suggestions had been received. This will be considered in developing the database. There was discussion of the format of the suggestions that the task force would be receiving. The report with the suggestions will include the suggested school name and the reason(s) for the suggestion. It will not indicate how many people suggested the name so the task force will be able to look at the names for their own merit and not based on how many times the names were suggested.

The draft version of the form was reviewed. Suggestions were made to add the deadline at the top of the form, to consider having people indicate which building they are submitting the suggestion for, to keep the form simple, to add more lines for suggestions, to allow the completed form to be returned to the district office or any of the schools' offices, to encourage people to complete the form online. Forms submitted to a school office could be sent to Pam Gibb via interschool mail.

There was mention that certain rooms within buildings, such as gymnasiums, libraries, computer centers, or the 9th grade center, could be named separately from the building name.

There needs to be discussion at a future meeting about honoring buildings that will be closed and the names not reused. One idea was to have a plaque with all the opening and closing dates of the various school buildings at a central location within the school district.

It was decided that the suggestion form would be made available from late February to March 10 for community members to suggest names and theme ideas. The list of names would be available by the meeting on March 13. Following a presentation (to be determined), the task force could begin discussing the names.