The decision on a name for the new elementary school under construction in East Helena has been narrowed down to three choices.

District officials from East Helena are asking anyone with an interest in the East Helena school district to take a survey and pick a favorite. The remaining names, which came from students, teachers and staff, include: Prickly Pear Elementary, Sleeping Giant Elementary or Creekside Elementary. Surveys must be submitted by Nov. 8 and the school board is set to make the final decision at its Nov. 13 regular meeting.

The school district's Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said Prickly Pear has been suggested before as a name for a new school in the district.

“We were originally Prickly Pear Junction instead of East Helena, which was named after the railroad stop,” he said. “We also have the creek right here. It all goes together.”

The Sleeping Giant is a well known landmark, but could be more associated with Helena than East Helena, the survey says. Creekside was proposed for geographic proximity to the creek and the survey says it’s unique and politically neutral.

The new elementary school is the result of a $12 million bond passed in May. The school, built on Dartman Field, will host first and second graders to relieve crowding at Radley and Eastgate. The bond also paid for additional classrooms at East Valley Middle School and updates to the Radley cafeteria.

Whitmoyer said construction of the school is well underway and is slated to be finished in time for the fall 2018 school year. Two classroom wings are standing with a roof and contractors are working on pouring concrete for the cafeteria and gym. 

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