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An accidental middle school mishap

Ensign Intermediate is temporarily (and accidentally) rebranded because of an error on a newly installed sign.

February 28, 2013|By Jeremiah Dobruck
  • Gene Goble, the owner of Letters and Logos Sign Company, Inc. from Lake Forest, prepares a concrete sign for paint at Ensign Intermediate School on Wednesday. The sign had to be replaced after the original was made with the name Ensign Middle School.
Gene Goble, the owner of Letters and Logos Sign Company,… (SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Ensign Intermediate School just installed a new monument sign on a corner of its campus highly visible to drivers.

But an error also unintentionally rebranded Ensign for a few weeks.

Until last week, the 5-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide concrete slab at Irvine Avenue and Cliff Drive in Newport Beach welcomed passersby to "Ensign Middle School." The mistake has since been fixed.

The district happened to make the mistake — substituting "Middle" for "Intermediate" on design drawings, school district spokeswoman Laura Boss said.

That might be because staff who don't specifically work at the school often use the terms interchangeably when they're not writing official documents, she explained.

"I was curious, so I talked to a few folks and asked them to tell me the proper name of Ensign [Intermediate School] and TeWinkle [Middle School], and most came up with the terms interchangeably," Boss wrote in an email.

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Coincidentally, the purchase order requesting the sign referred to Ensign by its proper name. Only the design drawings contained the "Middle School" error.

Ensign Principal Gloria Duncan said her office manager noticed the mistake right away.

Staff members at Ensign were eager to see the finished product, she explained.

After she and a group of employees gathered to inspect the new sign, Duncan let the district know about the error.

"The district, as always, was really accommodating," she said.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District paid $6,786.20 for the sign, its pedestal and installation in November, according to purchasing documents.

It paid an additional $4,975 at the end of January to add a 6-inch layer of concrete covering up the front of the sign and adding the correct name in impressed lettering.

The monument still needs finishing touches to blend in the new face, Boss said, but crews did the bulk of the work over the Presidents' Day recess, Duncan said.

So when students returned from their break Monday, they were back to attending Ensign Intermediate.

"It was kind of fun to be a middle school for a couple of weeks," Duncan said.

jeremiah.dobruck2@latimes.com

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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