Schenectady County

Contest to name former St. Luke’s School proves popular

Everything from “Albany Street Elementary” and “George Washington Elementary” to “Elmo’s Educational
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Everything from “Albany Street Elementary” and “George Washington Elementary” to “Elmo’s Educational Playland” and “Cookies” were among the roughly 140 names people suggested to rename the former St. Luke’s School.

The Schenectady City School District plans to renovate the vacant building on Albany Street, which the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese closed in fall 2006, and reopen it this fall as the city’s 12th elementary school. The district launched a contest in December to rename the school.

St. Luke’s School suggested names

For a list of suggested names for the former St. Luke’s School, click here.

Superintendent Eric Ely said there were about 225 people who responded by Sunday’s deadline, which pleased him.

“It shows a community that cares. It shows a community that is paying attention,” he said. “I would say there’s a lot of good submissions.”

Ely said suggestions are based on historical people and the city’s history and industry. “I think it’s a good mix of possibilities for the board to discuss.”

The names have been turned over to the Board of Education, which will decide on how to trim that down to a manageable number. Ely said he expects a decision next month.

Many people suggested naming the school after historical figures like John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Sojourner Truth. Modern-day names such as former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton were also suggested. Other names were local figures, including Thomas Edison, Charles Steinmetz and historian Larry Hart.

Still other ideas were to name the school after inspirational themes, including “New Hope,” “New Horizons,” “New Leaders,” “New Visions” and “Aspiration Academy.”

Some people even suggested keeping the name as St. Luke’s.

“We can’t do that because of the separation of church and state,” Ely said.

About 400 students in grades kindergarten through six will be housed in the school this fall. Last October, voters approved spending up to $1.6 million to lease the former Catholic school from the diocese for $180,000 per year for five years and pay renovation costs. State aid is covering all but $48,000 of the project.

The district has to renovate the building by installing handicap-accessible ramps, railings, restrooms and elevators, adding rescue windows and repairing the fire alarms.

The district plans to draw from students at the crowded Lincoln and Pleasant Valley schools.

The Albany Diocese closed St. Luke’s because of declining enrollment. It merged it with the city’s two other Catholic elementary schools — St. Helen’s and St. John the Evangelist.

Categories: Schenectady County

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