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Council approves school name change

By Staff | Oct 22, 2019

An elementary school in the Cape Coral Charter School system is about to get a name change in hopes of attracting new students to the system.

Christa McAuliffe Elementary School will have its name changed to Oasis Elementary North, while the original Oasis will add the word “South” to its name.

Jacquelin Collins, superintendent of the Cape Coral Charter Schools, made a presentation at Monday’s city Council meeting saying the schools were tasked with a rebranding to help link the system’s unique identity and performance levels and to promote regional and national recognition.

Besides, both elementary schools are not at capacity and the revenues they get from admissions is what pays the bills.

Most on council were supportive, though there were reservations about taking the name off the school. McAuliffe was a school teacher and astronaut who was one of the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.

Collins said they would name the campus after her and keep most of the memorabilia in the lobby to continue to honor her.

Councilmember Rick Williams didn’t like the idea, saying he would rather prefer they just call the charter schools Cape Coral Charter Elementary or something to that effect. He cast the lone dissent in a 6-1 vote.

Also, Utilities Director Jeff Pearson addressed council on the annual utilities rate sufficiency analysis, which he said was once again great. There will be no rate increase for water for the seventh straight year and forecasts no further increases over the next 10 years.

In other business, the City Council unanimously approved a wildlife conservation program that will pay assessments and fees associated with the expansion of utilities on vacant properties containing documented and protected burrowing owl, bald eagle or gopher tortoise habitat owned by wildlife conservation entities.

It also unanimously approved and ratified the collective bargaining agreements between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police, representing officers and sergeants, and lieutenants, while recommending police command staff receive a 10 percent pay raise for this fiscal year as way to get parity with other similar police departments.

Also, in an extended quasi-judicial hearing, the City Council approved the Judd Creek planned development project, a 63-acre plot on Tract 8, on the corner of Pine Island and Barrett roads.

The request was to divide the tract and to build two clubhouses for the development which will have 11 buildings and 292 apartment homes with a mix of studio, and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments between 525 and 1,430 square feet.

Councilmember Jessica Cosden said she would have liked to see more preserve space saved without having to change the scope of the project, though some will be protected.

Also, Patty Webb of the United States Postal Service told the City Council its interest in building a new facility somewhere in north or central Cape Coral, the precise spot of which has not been determined.

The building would be 17,000 square feet, would serve the 33991 and 33993 ZIP codes, and would be completed in a year from the start date.