Name Radiant Elementary Honors Coal Mining Heritage of Community

RadiantWaukee Community School District Board of Education considered four potential names before choosing one that paid homage to the coal mining history of the community. On November 28, the Board voted to name its ninth elementary school Radiant Elementary.

“Very few school districts in Iowa have ever experienced the type of growth that Waukee has. In the midst of managing that growth it could be easy to forget the heritage of the community,” said board member Jerry Ripperger. “By naming the new school Radiant Elementary School, we are reminded of our coal mining roots.”

There were coal mines all over the state of Iowa in the late 1800’s. By 1920, there were five coal companies in operation in Dallas County: Dallas Coal Company, Norwood-White Coal Company, Radiant Coal Company, Scandia Coal Company and Shuler Coal Company.

The total coal production in 1923 in the state of Iowa was 5,710,735 tons. Of that, 545,861 tons were mined in Dallas County or about 10% of the total state production.

The new elementary school will be located in Urbandale west of Alice’s Road between Meredith and Waterford, near the area Radiant Coal Company existed in the early 1920’s.

Other names considered were Harvest Elementary, a nod to the agricultural roots of the community, Northfield Elementary, a reference to the physical location of the building in the district and Coal Crest Elementary, a nod to the historical significance the coal mines played in the community.

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2017, with the building opening in the fall of 2019. Radiant Elementary School will serve students in grades preschool-5.

Whenever possible, the Waukee Community School District has tried to link the names of its buildings to the community.

  • 2016 – Grant Ragan, the named after  “founding fathers” of Waukee, General Lewis Addison Grant and Major William Ragan.
  • 2013 – Vince Meyer Learning Center, named after Vince Meyer, who served the district for 37 years as a teacher, coach and high school principal.
  • 2010 – Shuler Elementary, named after the Shuler Coal Company.
  • 2007 – Maple Grove, named after the one room school that existed in the area prior to the 1916 consolidation.
  • 1994 – Eason Elementary School, named after Clair Eason superintendent from 1964-1994.