What’s In A Name? Plenty As New School Building To Get A Moniker

Photo: Could this be the new Hogwarts School, Belmont Campus? 

With groundbreaking for the new 7-12 grade school building just 10 weeks away, there’s one thing still missing from the $295 million project.

What’s it called? And like a newborn, you need to get it right off the bat as you’re not getting a second chance. 

Belmont Superintendent John Phelan told the Belmont School Committee on Tuesday, March 26, the Belmont High Building Committee will accept a name from the Policy Subcommittee for the building by May 1 with students and teachers being asked over the next week to contribute to the list of names and assist in whittling down the hopefuls to a handful.

Collecting and coordinating the naming effort are Belmont High Building Committee members Chenery Principal McAllister and Belmont High educator Jamie Shea.

With the countdown starting for when the five-year project commences in late May, Phelan said the Massachusetts School Building Authority – which partnered with the School District in building the new school – knowing that signage and written material will need to be ready by groundbreaking gave the Building Committee “complete permission” to come up with a name that “we would be moving forward.”

After Belmont High sophomore Grace Kane asked if the name change would be effective on May 1, Phelan said “out of respect” for the students at the current school will continue attending “Belmont High School” for the remainder of their schooling.

Phelan read out the names that have been collected over the past two years from teachers, students, and resident in visioning sessions held early in the design process.

The current list includes:

  • Belmont High School
  • Belmont Middle/High schools
  • Belmont High School Upper School/Lower School
  • Belmont High School, Lower Division/Upper Division
  • Belmont Secondary School, Upper school/Lower school
  • Belmont 7-12 School, Upper School/Lower School
  • Belmont High School Academy/Belmont Junior Academy
  • Belmont Academy Upper School/Lower School
  • Belmont Academies
  • Belmont Junior/Senior High schools

“They all revolve around trying to capture that Belmont High should be part of the branding but also with the full acknowledgment that we have a middle school that will now accompany the school,” said Phelan. A name should provide “middle school students a name of their own to call where they go to school,” he noted. 

There are examples of how school districts named buildings that house more than the traditional 9-12 grade arrangement. The town of Lee has “Lee Middle and High School.” Carver, located way far away, named its school “Carver Middle High School,” West Bridgewater has a brand new 7-12 “Middle-Senior High School” and the communities of Dennis and Yarmouth is known as “Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School.”

Thinking out of the box, the town of Easton named its high school after the son of the shovel magnate Oliver Ames and Westford kept “Academy” to its high school as it was a private school until the 1920s. 

And why not HSS Academy? Constance Billard-St.Judes School? North Shore High School? And, of course, there’s Hogwarts School, Belmont Campus.

As for Phelan?

“It’ll probably be Belmont High School,” he said to the committee.

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