New Howard middle school will soon have a name

Howard County’s newest middle school will have a name before it's fully built. As construction continues on the school in the Oxford Square development in Hanover, a committee presented its top three choices for the school’s name at the Board of Education meeting Monday, and its final recommendation: Thomas Viaduct Middle School.

Eric Minus, the Howard County Public School System’s administrative director of middle schools and chair of the naming committee, said the naming process was a “happy experience” for the “excited” committee of 17 people, including parents and students who solicited feedback from their communities.

Thirty-eight names were considered by the committee. The two other finalists are Dorsey Station Middle School and Great Falls Middle School. A historian and geographer vetted the names suggested by the committee, and Thomas Viaduct was the top vote-getter among committee members, according to the committee’s report.

The Thomas Viaduct, a bridge that crosses the Patapsco River near Elkridge, is about three miles from the school. Completed in 1835, the viaduct is the world’s oldest multi-arched stone railroad bridge. Thomas Viaduct Elementary School was the name initially proposed for Ducketts Lane Elementary School, which opened in August, but Board of Education members and committee members worried “viaduct” was too difficult a word for elementary students to process.

A public hearing on the proposed name is scheduled for Dec. 5, with a board vote Dec. 18. The name would take effect immediately.

The board is currently considering redistricting plans to fill the new middle school for an August 2014 opening. The school could draw students from nearby Mayfield Woods, Elkridge Landing and Patuxent Valley middle schools.

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