Tacoma City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would rename a section of roadway to honor the late principal of Lowell Elementary School.
Former principal Bob Dahl passed away on March 18, 2012, at the age of 58 after he was hospitalized following a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease in which the lungs develop scar tissue of unknown causes, according to Tacoma Public Schools officials. Dahl began working for the school district in 1983 when he was hired as a fifth-grade teacher at Oakland Elementary. He also taught at DeLong Elementary School as a fifth-grade teacher from 1987 to 1994. He worked as an administrative assistant at Reed Elementary School from 1994 to 1995, and served as principal of Stanley Elementary School from 1995 to 1997. He began as principal of Lowell in 1997.
In January, a group of students submitted a request to City Hall to rename the 800 Block of North 13th Street, which runs from North Yakima Street to the school’s playground, “Mr. Dahl Drive.”
“Mr. Dahl was the beloved principal at Lowell for 15 years,” wrote Sue A. Keene, a fifth-grade teacher at Lowell Elementary School, in a Jan. 17 letter to Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. “He saw many children go through Lowell and contributed greatly to their academic, physical, and emotional development. Everyone speaks highly of Mr. Dahl. It was a tremendous loss to the school and the community when he unexpectedly passed away last year.
“We understand that you would probably like the students to commemorate their principal in another way, with a plaque or bench, but that just wouldn’t have the same affect,” added Keene. “The students are only asking to change a small part of North 13th Street, the part that dead ends at their school. The only people who use this street are from the Lowell Community. In considering a name change you would be contributing to the educational growth of these students and this community. They would understand that they can make a difference.”
Students presented their proposal to the landmarks commission in February. The commission held a public hearing in April and opened up a 30-day public comment period. According to city staff, more than 160 comments were received at City Hall. The response was overwhelmingly in support of the name change. The Tacoma Fire Department suggested the city adopt a commemorative name changes, as opposed to a formal name change, because of its need to update city maps and the 911 database, which is expected to cost approximately $2,500. In May, however, the landmarks commission voted unanimously in favor of the formal name change.
Tacoma City Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution during its meeting on Tues., June 25 at 5 p.m. at the Tacoma Municipal Building, First Floor, 747 Market St. A copy of the agenda is available online here. Meetings are streamed live online at tvtacoma.com and broadcast live on TV Tacoma.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Mr. Dahl Drive nomination, click on the following links:
- Public hearings Wednesday for 2 historic buildings, Mr. Dahl Drive nominations (Tacoma Daily Index, 04/08/13)
- Plan moves forward to rename street to honor late Tacoma principal (Tacoma Daily Index, 03/12/13)
- Tacoma street could be renamed to honor Lowell Elementary School principal (Tacoma Daily Index, 02/25/13)