The new middle school currently under construction in Berlin Township has officially been given a name following Wednesday’s Olentangy Schools Board of Education. During the meeting, board members voted to name the district’s sixth middle school Olentangy Berlin Middle School after a recommendation from the district’s leadership team.
Located on Piatt Road, Berlin Middle School sits just south of Berlin High School. The opening of the building will mark the first new middle school in the district since Berkshire Middle School opened in 2011.
The district’s policy for naming buildings stipulates that names must be selected based on local history or geography, with no directional names or historical figures to be considered. Board President Kevin O’Brien noted that the district’s naming policy has been in place “for as long as I can remember.” The previous five middle schools have been named after streets or townships in the district.
While the responsibility of naming new buildings falls on the board, a survey was conducted to solicit feedback from the community prior to the vote. Olentangy Schools Director of Communications Krista Davis said the district received 280 total name suggestions as part of the survey. Of the names suggested in the survey, Olentangy Berlin Middle School accounted for 43% of the submissions.
“I like it, and I think it makes sense,” O’Brien said during the meeting. “When you think of the middle schools, Orange Middle School goes to Orange High School, Liberty Middle School goes to Liberty High School, Berlin Middle School will go to Berlin High School. It’s very consistent with how we’ve addressed this issue.”
Board member Brandon Lester asked if the name would create an issue with school acronyms given that the district already has Olentangy Berkshire Middle School. Davis said the acronym issue has been already been discussed with Berkshire Middle School.
“That’s more of an internal coding and naming convention that we use, so we have brainstormed ways to address that internally to differentiate between the two schools,” Davis told the board. “If they have logo wear that says OBMS, they’re going to have different colors and mascots that will differentiate them externally. But internally, we have figured out how to best manage it with our systems.”
Superintendent Mark Raiff pointed out prior to the vote that many of the suggestions received in the survey stated that aligning the name with Berlin High School made the most sense because the school would serve as a direct feeder into the high school. However, he went on to say that until the next redistricting process is completed, that’s not exactly the case as of now.
“We haven’t done the redistricting process and that is not certain by any stretch,” Raiff said. “Liberty Middle School was actually a 100% feeder to Olentangy Liberty High School when it was opened, but now it is split.”
O’Brien clarified Raiff’s comments by saying that it is highly likely Berlin Middle School will serve as a direct feeder to Berlin High School but that doesn’t mean it will remain that way.
According to the district, the redistricting process for Berlin Middle School will begin later this spring, with the revised attendance boundaries announced in the fall. Mascots and school colors for the new middle school will be announced at the March 24 board meeting. The school is expected to be open for the 2023-24 school year.