The closure of three lower city highschools will be the topic of discussion for school trustees tonight.
Delta, Sir John A. MacDonald and Parkview are on the chopping block; and there is some concern that the area could become what's been called an 'education desert'.
The closures would leave a 10 kilometre void between Westdale and Sir Winston Churchill. With that kind of gap spanning across some of the city's most challenged neighbourhoods, there is worry that issues like accessibility will cause challenges and barriers for students on top of ones that may already exist.
But Paul Johnson, the Director of Neighbourhood Development Strategies for the City of Hamilton tells CHML that there's an oppourtunity to provide the community with a new facility that goes beyond reading, writing and 'rithmatic.
He says schools are also community spaces and the extra curricular activities that go beyond the core activities of day to day learning are what draw people to a neighbourhood.
Johnson says school closures are a reality that can't be avoided because of lower enrollment and fiscal restraint by the provincial government. Which is why, he says, it's important to have conversations about maintaining those elements in neighbourhoods even after schools are closed. He says all stakeholders have to work together to ensure they can deliver.
Johnson points to Beasley Park and the rebuild of Dr. J Edgar Davey School and a community centre as an example of how redevelopment can go beyond education in the classroom and benefit an entire community.