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Elementary School 11 will be named Northside Elementary

Elementary School 11 is no longer just a number.

At an Oct. 4 meeting, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education agreed to name the school Northside Elementary School — a name with historical ties to the community that will house the school.

The new elementary school is expected to open in time for the 2013-14 school year, and will help alleviate overcrowding in the district.

The school will be located off Caldwell Street in Chapel Hill’s historically black and low-income Northside neighborhood, and it will share the same name and location as a previous elementary school.

The former Northside Elementary was a segregated school for black students. The school closed in 1966 with the desegregation of the system’s schools.

Board of Education Chairwoman Mia Burroughs said the board took the school’s history into consideration during the naming process.

“The name was such a clear favorite,” Burroughs said. “We didn’t really consider anything else.”

She said the school’s location in the Northside neighborhood will prove beneficial to the school’s neighbors.

“It’s a great neighborhood for an elementary school. Children will be able to walk to school in a fairly large area,” Burroughs said.

Northside resident Reggie Edwards lives less than half a mile from the school. He said construction has not affected him much so far, except for a little noise.

Edwards has a few concerns about the school’s proximity to his house — like increased traffic flow and a rise in property taxes — but he said he is still looking forward to the school being completed.

Northside Elementary is on track to open in August 2013, Burroughs said.

She said architects took themes and designs from surrounding Northside homes into consideration for the school’s design.

Superintendent Tom Forcella said some parts of the old school, such as the steps leading up to the building, will be preserved in the new architecture.

Forcella said the elementary school will be the system’s first LEED Gold school — a title given to schools meeting high environmental efficiency standards.

Plans for a green roof and water retrieval system are some of the features that helped earn the school its ranking, he said.

Forcella said he held a think tank on Oct. 5 to discuss hiring teachers and creating an effective learning environment at Northside Elementary.

He said the meeting’s focus was eliminating the achievement gap.

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