Hundreds of bright and shining faces could be seen in the San Ramon Valley Christian Academy courtyard on Friday, where teachers, parents, town officials and students gathered to commemorate the completion of the school’s $1.2 million renovation and celebrate the incorporation of the academy’s preschool into its program.
At the campus located next to Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, community members gathered for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the renovations, which included a new and relocated main office, improved security systems, dedicated wings for middle school and elementary students, and other modernization efforts made around campus.
“We've made some big changes and one of those was having the office moved downstairs. We’re having a special ribbon-cutting today to kind of open our office to everybody and that was an expensive project,” Jamie Westgate, principal of SRVCA, said during the ceremony.
Westgate explained that improved security was one motivating factor for the renovations, and moving the main office downstairs will not only increase staff's ability to monitor visitors, but also enable staff to more easily lock down the school in the event of an emergency situation. Additional improvements include kitchenettes in preschool classrooms, a new remodeled nursery room, relocated conference room and additional security cameras -- the school now has 45 cameras in total.
A number of town officials attended the ribbon cutting to commemorate the occasion, including Danville’s Vice Mayor Karen Stepper, Mayor Robert Storer and Zae Perrin, president and CEO of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce.
"We want you to know that the town of Danville is very, very proud of our relationship with the Community Presbyterian Church and all of its staff,” Storer said during his brief address at the event. “I want you to know that CPC and the Christian Academy are such an important part of the town of Danville and that is why we are all here today -- to celebrate your leadership at this church and all of the young kids that are participating.”
During Friday’s ribbon-cutting, Westgate also noted that this past year the SRVCA has seen its kindergarten through eighth grade population increase by 13%.
“That is God at work in our school community,” she told DanvilleSanRamon.com. “I do think that the climate here at our school and the culture is very family friendly, and I think that is something that is drawing people here. We care a lot about character and helping students grow.”
Westgate added that unique policies, like the SRVCA’s prohibition of cell phones during school hours, also contribute to a culture where students get to interact with one another and learn without distractions.
“No other schools do that and what's nice about that is it protects the relationships students have with each other,” she said. “They’re interacting with each other instead of staying connected to their phones. Things like that contribute to the culture of our school.”
The SRVCA also has a robust athletics program that is not found at other middle schools, where students can participate in football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and cross country, competing against other christian schools in the Bay Area Athletic School Christian League.
“I think one thing that we have the privilege of (doing) is that we get to nurture the whole child,” Westgate said. “We get to make a real intentional effort to help them socially, spiritually, academically and athletically, as we’re helping them grow. And that's a gift to be able to help in all four areas of a child's life.”