District 117 approves name change of Turner Jr. High

By Ryne Turke on September 16, 2015 at 9:42pm

Say goodbye to Jonathan Turner Junior High School and hello to Jacksonville Middle School.

District 117 board members unanimously approved that name change and several other items with Turner Jr. High during Wednesday’s monthly meeting.

A survey on the topic, conducted by District 117, gathered 554 responses. Statistics showed that 70 percent of individuals were in favor of changing the school colors to red and white, while 30 percent preferred keeping the colors green and white.

As for the mascot, 65 percent of voters wanted a change to Junior Crimsons and 35 percent wanted the school mascot to remain the Titans.

The name change yielded 62 percent of the vote in favor of calling the school Jacksonville Middle School. Around 38 percent of voters wanted the name to remain Turner Junior High.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek was fully supportive of the name change.

“I think moving forward, having Jacksonville Middle School is going to help make a positive message about our approach to education when we are visiting other school and people see JMS. When people see Turner, they have no idea where Turner is.”

Ptacek says District 117 should still consider honoring the legacy of Jonathan B. Turner, who played a pivotal role improving education in Jacksonville.

“By finding something prominent in the school, such as the media center or information commons, and naming that after him.  We would have a good sized sign to acknowledge the proud Jacksonville history of one of our residents.”

The changes will officially take effect once the Turner Junior High project is completed in 2017.

An interior design discussion was scheduled for the meeting, but Ptacek says that was pushed back. BLDD Architects and Holland Construction have not been able to finalize bids, due to the process being on a rushed scheduled.

“In the meantime we decided with the construction schedule that there is a strong possibility we won’t be moving the 6th graders in until the fall of 2018. Meeting the deadline before school starts is somewhat unrealistic at this time,” says Ptacek.

Ptacek says BLDD and Holland will have an extra month to plan the bidding process with more detail. Ptacek hopes this will lead to a better investment for tax payers.

District 117 board members will hold the annual budget meeting on September 23rd at 6 p.m. at Jacksonville High School.