IRON RANGE, MN — In the coming years, Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia schools will become one, but, first, the districts must map out their futures together.
In May, voters in the three communities passed a referendum to merge their schools.
“It’s really just kind of an unparalleled opportunity that we couldn’t be more thrilled about,” Virginia High School Principal Lisa Perkovich says.
School officials are currently mapping out what that will look like with many unanswered questions to tackle.
“We’re not only talking about a high school coming together, we’re talking about building two elementary schools, we’re talking about two districts coming together,” Virginia Superintendent Noel Schmidt says.
The number one question, perhaps: What will be their new identity?
“The most important thing for us is putting the student-athletes first and the students and activities, and what’s best for them,” Eveleth-Gilbert Athletic Director JoJo Scott says.
Community members were recently asked to fill out a survey to choose a new school mascot and team colors.
“It’s important just that everybody has a say who wants to be involved,” Scott says.
They’ll be compiling that data over the next few weeks, which has sparked conversation throughout the Iron Range.
“They’re having a lot of fun with it,” Schmidt says. “It’s an exciting time.”
After compiling the results, school officials will narrow their options down and continue the selection process with full community engagement.
The tentative plan is to make the announcement during an Eveleth-Gilbert Virginia hockey game on December 12th.
Junior high football is expected to be the first team in the new colors next fall.