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‘Legacy’ picked as name for new West Fargo elementary school

The West Fargo School Board anointed what will be its 10th elementary school in the district a dual-purpose name: Legacy.

The board voted unanimously on Monday to call the school planned to open in fall 2015 Legacy Elementary. The name is both an ode to the district’s hopes for the students that will one day wander the halls then go on to make their mark in the future as well as a nod to the Martin family, which was the board’s second choice as a name.

The West Fargo School Board settled on Legacy Monday night after whittling down the list of names from nearly 200 submissions to six finalists: Martin, Louise M. Dardis, Legacy, Heritage, Courage and The Wilds, the moniker of the nearby subdivision where the school will be located.

After the School Board’s March 10 meeting, board members were asked to rank the remaining six names on a scale of preference. The names Courage and The Wilds tied for the least-liked names with 31 points each, followed by

Louise M. Dardis, Heritage, Legacy and Martin, which initially came out as the No. 1 choice.

The Martin family have been longtime residents of West Fargo and sold the school district the land to build the school.

As part of a submission letter, Albert Martin and his son Jim Martin’s family said they have lived in West Fargo for more than a century. Albert Martin homesteaded the land where the school will be built in 1912.

“This land has much history and deep meaning to the Martin family,” the family said in the submission.. Our father and mother both attended school in West Fargo as did all of Jim’s daughters. Jim’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren now attend West Fargo schools.”

However, the family said felt other names on the list would reflect the family.

“We do feel that the other names also reflect the meaning, value and rich heritage of the land,” the Martin family said in a statement to the District.

School Board Member Patti Stedman, who advocated for the name Legacy, said she was not familiar with the family despite living in West Fargo for nearly 30 years.

“They didn’t donate the land. We bought the land,” Stedman said. “It’s not necessarily something we have to do.”

She said unlike Dardis, the Martin family did not have direct ties to education in the community. Dardis spent 34 years in the school district, working as a teacher and in administration until she resigned in April 2013 as assistant superintendent.

“I just wish they had a tie to education,” Stedman said. “We have such few options on what we get to name things for people who are tied to education.”

Board Chairwoman Kay Kiefer said the Legacy name is still a reflection of the Martins.

“(The name) honors the back story of the Martin family and honors the hopes and dreams of the district,” Kiefer said.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said the district plans a groundbreaking ceremony at the site west of Sheyenne Street and south of Interstate 94 in April.