West Point discusses renaming of elementary school

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2021

At their work session on Thursday, the West Point City Council discussed potentially naming the West Point Active Life Center, a room in the center, or West Point Elementary School after the late Zelma Brock. Brock was the former active life specialist and site manager at the West Point Active Life Center. She also worked at West Point Elementary School for 42 years as a teacher and assistant principal.

Councilmember ​​Henry Hutchinson said he would have loved for the school to be the first choice because that’s where Brock had the most impact. Councilmember Deedee Williams also said she’d prefer to name the school after Brock.

“Nobody has reached out to say anything to initiate that process,” Williams said. “Gloria’s not here, but I think originally, was it her suggestion?”

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Hutchinson said Councilmember Gloria Ramsey Marshall had brought up the topic at a previous meeting but wasn’t sure if she meant for the council to act on it. He said that if bringing up the possibility with the school board would bring on prolonged debate, he’d rather take an easier route.

“We can reach out to the school board and find out what the process is and what they think it would entail,” City Manager Ed Moon said.

“Park and Rec came to us originally, asking about a room,” Ledbetter said, suggesting that the council agree with Parks and Recreation to rename the room and then see if they could have West Point Elementary renamed.

Williams said she wouldn’t want to give up the opportunity of naming the entire Active Life Center building after Brock if the council couldn’t name West Point Elementary after her. She said she thought it would be more difficult to convince the school system to name a school after Brock.

Councilmember Sandra Thornton said she had tried to get a walking trail behind a Troup County school named but couldn’t get it done.

“I think what it boils down to is yes, the community is behind it,” Williams said. “Particularly the West Point community, in this case, would be very supportive of this. We have one representative on the school board. That’s who’s going to make the decision. I don’t know that we have enough clout with the entire board to convince the majority to vote for it. I’m not saying we shouldn’t go for that, though. I think that ideally is what we all agree that we’d like to see.”

The council decided to table the renaming agenda item until they could get more information on how easy or difficult it would be to name West Point Elementary after Brock. West Point Mayor Steve Tramell expressed that the council had a preference for the school.

In an interview, Troup County School System Board Chair Cathy Hunt said she wasn’t sure about the existence of a policy for renaming a facility but said she’ll look into how the council might want to proceed.

In other business at the meeting, the council discussed potentially appointing incumbent Vice Chairman Wiky Gladden or challenger Audrey Bailey Gilliam to the West Point Development Authority Board for the vice chairman position. Gilliam’s application for the position, submitted on Nov. 23, says she is the president of West Point Vision.

Hutchinson said he would strongly consider both candidates, having known them both and been familiar with their work. However, he expressed an interest in giving new applicants a chance.

Willaims expressed a preference for Gilliam, saying she thought Gilliam could get more young people involved in causes for the city.

“She has exhibited some skills in a number of projects she’s led, and [she’s] very well-known in the community,” Williams said.

In other business, Tramell brought up the GLOVIS Memorandum of Understanding. Though it had already been approved by the city and other entities, Tramell said it has been amended to reflect an increase in the cost of the project real property from $21 million to $34 million.

Finally, Tramell brought up a rezoning application for 100 Sandtown Road from general commercial to R1A residential. During the public hearing that followed the work session, nobody voiced support for or dissent against the request.

During the announcements phase of the meeting, Tramell announced that Santa would be at the depot in West Point on Dec. 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and that there would be cookies and hot chocolate there.

Councilmember ​​Sandra Thornton said she would be “Miss Senior Georgia” in the Vallywide Christmas Parade that night.

Williams announced that Thornton’s son, Jason Winston, won the runoff election for District 1 in Atlanta’s city council.

“He’s actually the first African American to be elected in that district in 48 years,” Thornton said. “So that’s quite an accomplishment. And a lot of people in this room gave him donations to help get it done, so thank you all so much.”