The view looking east from Centennial Hills’ Shadow Ridge High School is a desert of undeveloped North Las Vegas.
Looking south offers a decent long-range view of tree-lined Decatur Boulevard — the dividing line between Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross’ Ward 6 and North Las Vegas Councilman Wade Wagner’s Ward 4 — and glancing north offers even better panoramas of North Decatur before it peters out near the Clark County Shooting Complex.
For miles in every direction, there are shadows, arguably ridges, but nothing that screams Shadow Ridge loud enough to name a high school after.
That comes as no surprise to Clark County Museums Administrator Mark Hall-Patton.
Hall-Patton said the school, which lies in Centennial Hills but also draws students from North Las Vegas, probably wasn’t named with an eye toward any prominent regional landmark.
He doubts that it takes its name from any landmark at all.
“Far as I know, the school district has names related to the school’s location,” Hall-Patton said. “There is no Shadow Ridge in that area that I know of, so I don’t think it’s geographical, but it could be shared with (Shadow Ridge) subdivision.”
Built in 2003, alongside dozens of other Centennial Hills elementary, middle and high schools minted during the pre-recession boom, the only certainty about Shadow Ridge’s namesake may be that it’s hard to pin down.
School District Naming Committee minutes related to Shadow Ridge’s naming were not immediately available. Former Shadow Ridge High School principal Carolyn Andrews, who would have helped oversee the naming process, could not be reached for comment.
School district records show only that the $38 million school was named in 2002 and saw its earth science laboratory named for area farmers Bill and Ted Gilcrease in 2004.
Naming Committee Chair Carolyn Edwards said that because high schools can’t be named for people, they frequently take the name of a major regional landmark, even a nearby road.
But Edwards, who wasn’t on the committee when it signed off on a name for the 291,000-square-foot future home of the Mustangs, said that might not hold water in Shadow Ridge’s case.
“What happens is the school principal is chosen, and he reaches out to eighth, ninth and 10th, and they work in conjunction with staff to narrow down options for a name,” Edwards said. “Typically, schools are named after geographical features in the area, but I don’t know that there’s a ridge over there.
“I know the (Tule Springs Prehistoric) fossil park is over there, but I honestly don’t know how it got its name.”
District B Clark County School Board trustee Chris Garvey also didn’t want to rule out any possibilities but said she was willing to ask around.
Reached before a Oct. 24 Clark County School Board meeting, Garvey bounced the question off of six fellow trustees and District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky.
Their verdict? The school’s namesake was lurking in something else’s shadows all along.
“It’s named (Shadow Ridge) because it’s in the shadow of Sheep Range,” Garvey said. “I don’t know that personally, but that’s what the superintendent and the trustees think.”
For more information on Shadow Ridge High School, 5050 Brent Lane, visit ccsd.net.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at 702-477-3839 or firstname.lastname@example.org.