New Brunswick

New public school near Fredericton to be called an academy — but 'not in a snobby way'

The new K-8 school in Hanwell, which is scheduled to open in September, has a new name that at least one supporter says could elevate its reputation.

Hanwell Park Academy is scheduled to welcome students in September

The new school on Hanwell Road, as seen on Friday, the day after it officially became Hanwell Park Academy. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

Love it, hate it, or just don't care, the new school being built in Hanwell now has a name. 

It will be called Hanwell Park Academy. 

Darren MacKenzie, a Hanwell councillor who was also on the naming committee for the new school, likes the name, although he has heard that not everyone does. 

He said the use of "academy" adds some class, making it seem "like an institution of higher learning" rather than just a school. 

"It would be an academy, something where you're more prestigious."

But, he said, "not in a snobby way." 

An architect's rendition of the new school outside Fredericton. (Sarah Morin/CBC)

He said he's glad the committee decided to go with something a little more "elevated" in the name. 

"It could have been just called Hanwell School, right? It wouldn't make it sound very classy."

The kindergarten to Grade 8 school is under construction on Hanwell Road, next to the community centre and nature park, and is scheduled to open in September. It will hold 650 students. 

According to the province, about 450 students from the Hanwell catchment-area are bused to schools in Fredericton every day. Some students spend as much as an hour on a bus each way. 

The school is also supposed to help alleviate overcrowding in schools on Fredericton's south side, where modular classrooms make up 16 per cent of all classrooms.

MacKenzie has read some negative comments about the name on social media but said if politics has taught him anything, it's that you can't please everyone all the time. 

The mayor of Hanwell doesn't see what all the fuss is about either. 

Hanwell's new school is located next to the community centre and municipal office. (Sarah Morin/CBC)

Dave Morrison said Hanwell Park Academy "has a nice ring to it." 

As for calling it an "academy" rather than school, Morrison said, "I don't have any preference." He's just happy that the community finally has its own school.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful that we've got a brand new school there for Hanwell and for Hanwell kids to enjoy. And quite frankly, the name of the school doesn't really upset me one way or the other. It's more important to have the school than to have the name." 

According to Section 6.3 of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's Policy 409, district education councils are responsible for establishing a naming committee prior to the naming of a school. 

Flavio Nienow, a department spokesperson, suggested contacting the district council for further comment about the naming of the school. 

The naming process

District education council chair Thomas Geburt said he doesn't see any problem with the name and doesn't think people will assume it's a private school.

In fact, he said, there's another "academy" in the district — Central New Brunswick Academy, whose principal did not respond to an interview request on Friday. 

"I think it's an excellent name," Geburt said. "I think all three suggestions were great, but that's the one that was favoured by the councillors." 

Geburt said the council appealed to the community for suggestions and received 356 responses — 200 in the first week alone. 

The naming committee eventually managed to whittle the list down to 10. They voted and the top three names were presented to the council, whose members voted on the winner.

Geburt would not share the other two contenders.


Mia Urquhart is a journalist with CBC New Brunswick, based in Saint John. She can be reached at


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