Marketing School Closures as Moves - Would It Help the HWDSB Manage Public Opinion?

World War II war heroes displayed at Saltfleet High School.World War II war heroes displayed at Saltfleet High School.

Does it make a difference how school closures are marketed? Does closing a high school cause less anguish when a new high school opens with the closed school’s name?

Using the closures of two lower city high schools to build new high schools in Upper Stoney Creek, the answer appears to be yes.

I visited Saltfleet District High School Tuesday evening to cover the Public School Trustee debate for Ward 9 & 10.

Riding to Saltfleet, I passed the new Catholic High School on Rymal Road. It’s named Bishop Ryan, the third location for BR as a high school.

The Catholic School Board closed the East Hamilton Bishop Ryan High School and opened a new high school on the Binbrook/Hamilton boundary last year.

There was no public outcry over school closures, it’s not even called a closure, it’s just seen as a move.

It was much the same in the mid-90s when the Wentworth County school board closed Saltfleet on Grays Road in Stoney Creek and opened a new high school on the then-edge of Upper Stoney Creek on Highland Road near then-Highway 20, now officially called Upper Centennial Parkway.

In the cafeteria of Saltfleet High School hang the framed portraits and paintings of Stoney Creek’s war heroes who attended Saltfleet prior and during World War II. While Saltfleet today serves a completely different geography, it inherits the traditions and history of the name it bears.

The new lower city high school the HWDSB is building on the former Scott Park high school site is currently not planned to inherit the storied history of Delta Secondary School.

It will start with a new name, and no institutional history.

Could the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board decrease public anguish surrounding school closures by marketing some of the high school closures as moves or mergers?

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