By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

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It’s official: the new Boones Creek School will be the Bars.

The Washington County Board of Education, in a 6-1 vote, opted for the upcoming K-8 school to don the Bar mascot and name at the latest school board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

The new school, which is currently under construction off Boones Creek Road, will consolidate Boones Creek Elementary School and Boones Creek Middle School. But the BOE had to vote with either a “bars,” the current mascot for the middle school, or “bears,” the current mascot for the elementary school.

Other than the spelling, the difference between the two is the history of American legend Daniel Boone who, while in the Boones Creek area in Washington County, killed a bear. And so it was carved in a nearby tree that “D. Boone cilled a bar on (this) tree in the year 1760.”

That history is one board member Mary Beth Dellinger said she felt needed to be shared with the elementary school kids in Boones Creek regardless of the mascot outcome.

“I’d like to see the Boones Creek Historical Trust get into the school and possibly do some type of training or teachings to let them know about the history of the Bars,” Dellinger said. “I love history and I think it would kind of buy-in both (groups). I’d like to see that if that’s possible.”

Boones Creek Principal Jordan Hughes told the BOE the plan is to honor the history of Daniel Boone, the bear and Boones Creek through a mural at the new school.

“The idea is that we would incorporate history. The hope is that we would have a wall dedicated in the building to the history of the location,” Hughes said. “Why are we called Boones Creek? Why is our high school called Daniel Boone? The history behind the tree, the history of when he hid in the creek — we want to make sure we incorporate all that. We want to work to make sure we get this narrative correct.”

Though board members Dellinger, David Hammond, Keith Ervin, Jason Day, Chad Fleenor and Todd Ganger voted in favor of the motion (BOE members Annette Buchanan and Mitch Meredith were absent), Phillip McLain was the lone “bear” vote. He said it he felt there was enough space at the new school for both Bars and Bears.

“I think there’s room for a presence of Bars and Bears in the school,” McLain said. “There was a principal in the system say to me that even with the history, they teach the kids the correct spelling. I understand the history. I also understand what the principal said: ‘we teach them to spell and say it correctly.’”

For some board members, the nod to history through the Bars name is something to be proud of and is unique to the Boones Creek area.

“Something stood out to me with that meeting we had at Boones Creek; there’s only one Bars in America,” Fleenor said. “I know some people are like, ‘What’s a Bar?’ That gives us the opportunity to stand up, puff our chest out a little bit and say, ‘Right here’s what a Bar is. This is where we come from.’ I love history. Maybe that’s why my passion is so strong on this, but I feel very fortunate we are different. And I want to be different.”