LAFAYETTE — After much study, and much debate, the Lafayette Parish School Board finally decided on a name for the first new high school to be built in Lafayette Parish in 45 years.
“Southside High School” is the winner on an 8-1 vote Wednesday.
District 9 board member Jeremy Hidalgo, whose district will house the new school, cast that “no” vote because he supported naming the school “Youngsville High.”
The decision came after passionate arguments from Youngsville officials who supported naming the school Youngsville High and equally passionate arguments from Broussard officials who wanted the school named anything but Youngsville High.
“The name of a school should invoke a sense of place and a sense of pride,” Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter said. “Youngsville encompasses both. People will know where Youngsville High is located. It’s the fastest growing, most inclusive and welcoming community in Acadiana.”
Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais told board members that Broussard pays more in sales and property taxes to the school board than Youngsville does.
“We’re certainly paying our fair share,” Langlinais said. “We only ask that we be treated neutrally.”
Ultimately, board members who voted in favor of Southside High School said it is a name that can bring together the communities to be served by the school.
“Not only is this new school a school for the parish, it was paid for by every single person in this parish,” board member Dawn Morris said.
Board member Erick Knezek proposed naming the school after U.S. Air Force Capt. Steven Bennett, a graduate of the original Youngsville High School who was awarded the Medal of Honor after he died in Vietnam.
Some people in the audience pointed out that the naming committee did not want the school named after any one person. The board voted 8-1 against Knezek’s measure.
The process for naming the new high school began in December, when the committee narrowed the list to four choices: Caneview High, Cypress High, Veterans Memorial High and Youngsville High.
The ultimate winner, Southside High, was not on that list.
Schools Superintendent Donald Aguillard, however, had recommended naming the school either South Lafayette High or Southside High, while a poll of students who will attend the new high school also named Southside High as their most popular choice.
The board also voted, 7-2, on the school colors. There will be four: orange, turquoise, sage/avocado green and red. The students will choose spirit colors and a mascot later.
Aguillard said he plans to name Southside High’s principal next month.
Construction, set to begin next month, is estimated to cost up to $70 million.
The school is scheduled to open in fall 2017.