The Mall at Hays has a new name, Big Creek Crossing, announced Thursday morning to a large crowd.

“This is a such a monumental moment,” said Katie Dorzweiler, mall property manager. “This has been months in the making.

“These stores mean so much to the community. They know you as their customer,” she said.

“We are inviting all of you to come back again.”

The Mall owners had considered the name change, even before Dorzweiler came on board. Six months ago, they all sat down to begin the process to come up with a name.

“The Mall is so original, so it took a lot of brainstorming,” she said with a laugh. “We started with the demographic. What is our community? What do they like? Who are you?”

They considered a name that meant a lot to the community. They also knew even with the remodeling, the atmosphere wouldn’t change until the name was changed.

“We have to change the personality,” Dorzweiler said. “This name will do this because it means something to each one of us, and we hope that you like it.”

A contest was conducted in the search for names. Dorzweiler said they received several entries and one person will be recognized. The final name was a compilation of the contest and long hours.

Big Creek was chosen because it is integral to the community, where community events are held, and where family photos are taken, the manager said.

“We want the mall to be that for all of you,” Dorzweiler said. “We want the mall to be where you come for your wedding party, where you come for Family Fun Fest, and we want it to be a family oriented place.”

The word “crossing” was chosen because it is at the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. 183.

The name was announced to a drum roll by the Fort Hays State University marching band. Dorzweiler thanked everyone who helped make the name change possible.

“This isn’t just slapping a new name on. We want to be the community hub,” she said. “It is a new persona and a new era.”

They will update the parking lot sign in the upcoming months.

“This is a very important thing for the community,” said Aaron White, executive director of the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. “The city of Hays relies heavily on sales tax.

“Anything that goes on in the retail market that helps draw in new retailers and makes it attractive to retailers to come is a long term benefit to the community.”

“This is a very good name,” said Marcy McClelland, chair of the Ellis County Commission. “I’m proud of it. I think we need to support it.

“It will help our community.”

In addition to the FHSU band, Tiger Debs, cheerleaders, Victor E. Tiger, city and county representatives, and all of the mall tenants were present.

The reason FHSU students were present was because they are an integral part of the community, Dorzweiler said.