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What's in a name

After receiving just seven submissions, the West Fargo School Board decided Monday, Dec. 12, to go back to the drawing board before deciding what to name the $20 million ice hockey arena.

• West Fargo Tundra Arena Zone

• West Fargo Tundra Zone Arena

• Public School Arena

• Sheyenne Hockey Center

• Sheyenne Arena

• West Fargo Fro-Zone

• West Fargo Chill

"None of them really roll off the tongue," School Board President Patti Stedman said.

The small number of submissions was surprising to the board, considering the School District has received hundreds in the past when moving through the process of naming a new school.

"It seems like it was shocking there were only seven names," Board member Shauna Vistad said. "I strongly feel we should open it back up. I don't like any of these names."

The arena is currently under construction north of 32nd Avenue West and Sheyenne Street as part of the $98.1 million bond referendum passed in November 2015, which is also helping pay for the Hulbert Aquatic Center, a new school district pool. The two-sheet ice arena will be used by the whole community. The School District currently uses West Fargo Park District owned and operated Veterans Memorial Arena for its ice needs.

"To have the name Sheyenne [isn't right], it won't be just used by Sheyenne," Board member Allan Skramstad said.

The two schools will use both ice facilities once the School District finishes the new arena.

The aquatic center was named for the Hulbert family, who donated $1 million to UP Aquatics, the grass-roots nonprofit that raised additional money for upgrades at the pool.

The School Board decided earlier this year that donors of $1 million or more could request naming rights for new facilities. While the West Fargo Hockey Association has been raising money in recent years for additional ice in the city, they currently do not have any large donors that would qualify for naming rights and likely won't before the Jan. 9 deadline the School District has set for a donor to step forward.

"To date, they really haven't had any success," Business Manager Mark Lemer said. "They indicated with more time, they would have more opportunities but at this point, they don't see anyone coming forward."

Stedman suggested waiting to name the facility, but district spokeswoman Heather Konschak said a name would be best decided on as soon as possible so the facility can be used when marketing the arena for outside uses.

"We are a little behind on what we consider an appropriate timeframe for naming a facility," she said.

Eric Tyulyandin, West Fargo High School sophomore, suggested Monday that the board ask more students to help with the naming process through social media and use of lunchtime polls. Tyulyandin said many students participated in the mock election in November because they could vote while at lunch.

"A lot of students did that because it was right there during lunch," Tyulyandin said. "Personally, I do like the Fro-Zone; it would be fun."

The School Board tabled the issue Monday. The board's governance committee will discuss the issue again at its next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.

The hockey facility is expected to be finished by August 2017.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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