The Clover Park School District will honor four Lakewood police officers gunned down at a Parkland coffee shop nearly five years ago by naming a new school Four Heroes Elementary.
The name is in memory of the four fallen officers: Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens. They died in a shooting that took place as they gathered on a Sunday morning, Nov. 29, 2009.
The new school, scheduled to open in September 2015, will replace two older elementary schools, Oakwood and Southgate. Students from both those schools will attend Four Heroes, located at 9101 Lakewood Drive S.W. It will be on the same campus as a new Harrison Prepatory School.
“I’m really humbled and honored by what the school district has done,” Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar said. “It reinforces the special relationship the police department has with the citizens of Lakewood and the Clover Park School District.”
The new school will be visible from the police station, also the site of a memorial to the fallen officers. The coffee shop on Steele Street where the shootings took place was renamed Blue Steele, to honor them. And the police department hosts an annual November food drive in memory of fallen officers.
The Clover Park School Board selected the name for Four Heroes, along with the names of two new Clover Park schools scheduled to open this fall on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. One is being built in the new Meriwether Landing housing area on the north side of the base. Both the area and school name honor Meriwether Lewis, co-leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition launched in 1804.
The other new school, located in the main base area, will be called Rainier Elementary, after the area’s most visible landmark.
“Each school being named had a committee made up of parents, staff and community members who followed the school board policy and procedure for naming facilities,” Clover Park Superintendent Debbie LeBeau said in a news release. “The committees were charged with recommending three to five names for school board consideration.”
“I know each committee took on this task very seriously and a lot of research was done,” school board president Marty Schafer added. “We thank you for your efforts.”
The two new schools on Lewis-McChord are funded by the Department of Defense and the state school construction assistance program. Four Heroes is part of the 2010 voter-approved school construction bond that is also paying for the new Harrison Prep and a new Hudtloff Middle School.