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BOONE COUNTY - Columbia' school board president said Friday the board wants to name a new elementary school after Dr. Eliot Battle, who passed away late Tuesday night.

A new elementary school will be built next to Muriel Williams Battle High School by 2015. Board of Education President Cristine King said it would be nice to have the two schools named after the married couple who worked so closely together.

Initially, the high school was going to be named after both of them, but the district has a policy against naming buildings after living people. King said Eliot Battle was very clear that he wanted the high school named only after his wife as a way to honor her memory. Both Battles were teachers in Columbia for about 40 years and played an important role in the civil rights movement in Columbia as well as the integration of schools.

"The elementary school would be right on the other side of the high school's football stadium and the two schools would be connected by a park," King said. "We could call the area the Battle grounds."

The school board has not yet met to discuss the possibility of naming the elementary school after Eliot Battle, but King said it would be great way to honor him.

"Rather than renaming the high school to include both his and Muriel's names I think giving him his own school named after him would be a better way to honor his legacy," King said.

King also said the board needs to consider what it would cost to change all of the signs on the high school.

The name of the new elementary school will not be chosen until a naming committee reviews possibly choices and reports back to the school board. King said she estimates the name will be chosen by the end of this year.

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