December 11, 2018 – At its December 10, 2018 regular meeting, the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to rename Cornerstone Elementary to “Anchor Elementary.” The new elementary construction adjoining the existing Cornerstone building will be named “Beacon Elementary,” and “Dexter Early Elementary Complex” will describe the entire complex.
The existing Bates building, from which the young five through second grade students will move into the new construction, will remain Bates School. The current plan is for Bates to house additional preschool classrooms, Community Education classes, and expanded spaces for staff training and special programs in the near future.
In August, 2017, Dexter voters approved a $71.7 million dollar construction bond to address space issues by building a new elementary, upgrading facilities district-wide, purchasing buses, and making other improvements. Construction began on the new elementary space in November 2017 and the complex is on schedule to be complete in mid-January 2019. Students and teachers will move to the new building at the end of January.
The naming process took several months. Working with principals, staff, and the Board of Education, Superintendent Christopher Timmis developed a process to reach community consensus on the direction the names would take. An October community poll elicited close to three hundred suggestions, which were whittled down by staff through a series of round table discussions and building votes.
Descendants of H.C. Bates, long-time Board of Education president after whom Bates Elementary was named in 1955, also expressed their desire to keep the Bates name with the existing structure. Ultimately, the facilities committee presented recommendations to the entire Board who, following discussion, voted for what they felt was the most unifying option. The new names take effect January 28, 2019.
Two schools united
Ryan Bruder, Principal of Bates (soon to be Beacon) Elementary had this to say: “We are looking forward to working collaboratively with our neighbors and partners at Anchor Elementary School. We believe the new names honor the rich history of both schools while providing us an opportunity to create a new, collaborative legacy.”
Dexter Board of Education President Michael Wendorf added:
“The naming of our Early Education Complex and our two elementary schools is another important step in our district’s ongoing commitment to the children and families we serve. The Board is delighted that our Young 5s – grade 2 will be unified in one complex consisting of Anchor and Beacon Elementary Schools within the existing school campus that has served and will continue to serve all our students through grade 12.
“The generosity and support of our community together with creative and brilliant design work by TMP Architecture will allow for innovative, collaborative, hands-on learning by all students attending our Early Education Complex. We could not be more excited for the future of our district and our students.”