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Sheyenne High School, it is

Even though ground isn't expected to break on the Sheyenne Middle School's addition until early April, West Fargo's newest high school already has its name.

In fact, according to community members and some school board members, it has had it all along.

During a West Fargo School Board meeting Monday at Eastwood Elementary School, the board voted unanimously 7-0 to keep the current building's moniker and name the district's newest institution, West Fargo Sheyenne High School.

"In my mind, we already named that building," board member Kay Kiefer said, citing the district's past method of utilizing the public when choosing Sheyenne to name the middle school. Kiefer said that when Sheyenne was originally constructed, the public was informed that it eventually would be a high school sometime in the future, too.

The one change the board made Monday was adding the city's likeness to the building. Much like Grand Forks Red River or Bismarck Century, West Fargo Sheyenne High School helps distinguish the city it resides in.

"It should identify the town it is from," board member Angela Korsmo said.

Athletic Director Curt Jones also noted that, even though the school might officially be referred to as West Fargo Sheyenne High School, the public most likely will refer to it simply as Sheyenne.

"During the basketball tournament, if someone was talking about Bismarck Century, they just said 'Century,'" Jones explained. "I can't see why Sheyenne would be any different."

With the name of the school out of the way, the next big order of business will be picking its mascot and official colors.

The board decided that decision might best be sparked by the part of the general population with the largest vested interest: the students.

"We need to give the kids ownership," board member Judy Kvaale said.

All students is sixth through eighth grade who live south of Interstate 94 and will be attending the new high school will get a chance to come up with their new school mascot and colors, school board members said.

Each student can submit their mascot idea, but must also include a reason as to why they chose it. Reasons can vary, but president Ben Koppelman said it would be nice if the mascot had some sort of significance to the area, such as historical, geographical or even something that sounds fitting with the word "Sheyenne."

"We need to allow (the students) to be as creative as they want to be," he said.

After ideas are handed in, they will be whittled down and sent to a selection committee, comprised of parents, teachers, staff members and six students (one boy and girl from sixth, seventh and eighth grade).

The committee will then refine the mascots and color choices to five each, which will then be ferreted on to the school board for the final decision.

The entire process hopefully will take a month or two, the board said.

With the high school and a new mascot will eventually come sports teams and co-curricular activities unique to Sheyenne.

A Secondary Feeder System Phase-in Committee met five times during the past two months to decide, in part, the district's plan for creating new teams.

The committee recommends the following description of the transition

plan for the two high school system.

• A varsity program will be triggered as soon as possible for each sport, but not before there are adequate numbers to support a varsity program in the feeder system.

• For sports with known safety concerns, such as football and hockey, size and maturity differentials will be weighed along with the presence of adequate numbers in the feeder system. These decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis.

• Gifted or talented athletes living south of I-94, with approval through a district application process including coaching staff and administration from both schools, would be allowed to be on a varsity team as sophomores or juniors for WFHS in a sport that does not have a varsity team at Sheyenne. Seniors would have to transfer, however, because of North Dakota High School Activitie Assocation rules.

In general, students participating in activities will be expected to attend the secondary school dictated by their residence.

Some hiccups that still need to be worked out regarding athletic facilities. For instance, the football area at Sheyenne will not have bleachers to accommodate varsity competition in football and track, therefore competitions will be held at WFHS.

Swimming and basketball also will have to come up with creative solutions to house all athletes in the district's current facilities.