New school awaits a name

Board ponders several options for Kelton Court while agreeing on monikers for renovated School 20, 27 buildings

RICK KARLIN Staff Writer
Section: Capital Region,  Page: B6

Date: Thursday, July 21, 2005

ALBANY - What's in a name? A school by any other name should be just as educational as the next one, but the city school board is taking its time in bestowing a moniker on at least one of its new buildings, on Kelton Court.

So far, the board has agreed to name two newly renovated buildings, School 20, which will be North Albany Academy; and School 27, which will be Eagle Point Elementary School. But there are still a number of options for the middle school on Kelton Court, including a few that hark back to the city's role in the abolitionist movement.

The names North Albany Academy and Eagle Point were recently approved by the school board, and both have straightforward geographic references.

School 20, at 570 N. Pearl St., is in the heart of the neighborhood known as North Albany. The school is being renovated and expanded into a K-8 facility, and it will be attached to a large community and recreation center built with the city Housing Authority and YMCA.

When School 27 reopens as Eagle Point Elementary, the K-5 school at 1044 Western Ave. will be 30,500 square feet larger, with expanded classrooms and modern gym and cafeteria facilities.

There may not be any eagles gliding overhead, but the name references the spot as one of the highest in the city.

The term "Point," however, might involve some poetic license.

Assemblyman Jack McEneny noted that the area has long been known as Eagle Hill. "There's no `point' there," said the historian and Democratic lawmaker. "Eagle Hill would be correct."

As for the Kelton Court middle school, several possibilities have been mentioned, but one of the earliest suggestions - that it be named for Henry Johnson, an African-American World War I hero - appears to be fading now that a charter school is already claiming that name.

The state earlier approved the Henry Johnson Elementary Charter School for a 2006 opening.

While members of the naming committees for these schools have been shying away from using the names of individuals, at least one school board member believes it would be fitting to name one of the facilities after a prominent African-American.

Noting that Hackett and Livingston middle schools were named for white historical figures, "It would only be right that the third middle school would be named after an African-American," said board member Ed Brown.

One of his suggestions is to name the school for Stephen Myers, a freed slave who lived in Albany and published The Northern Star and Freeman's Advocate, a leading abolitionist newspaper before the Civil War.

Others have suggested simply the Northern Star Middle School, but Brown feels that something like the Stephen Myers Academy of Excellence could work as well. "That would be educational and it would be relevant," he said.

Rick Karlin can be reached at 454-5758 or by e-mail at