After nearly 35 years, the local Christian school has found a permanent home in the Comox Valley.
Northgate Christian Education Society bought the former Brooklyn Elementary School building in Comox from the Comox Valley School District. The Brooklyn school gym was packed Wednesday as the announcement was made that Gateway Academy, (formerly Comox Valley Christian School), now has a permanent home.
“This is 35 years in coming,” said Northgate Foursquare Church Pastor Scott Gaglardi. In “1979, in the basement of a church, there was a Christian school started, and the dream and the prayer from the beginning was that there would be a Christian school in the Comox Valley, and that school would be from K to 12 and they would have their own facility on their own property, and today, Oct. 9, 2013, that dream gets realized.”
Bought for $2.4 million from the Comox Valley School District, the site at 1475 Noel Ave. now officially belongs to Gateway Academy, though students will remain at the Wallace Avenue site until February so the new site can be readied for occupancy.
Board of Education Comox trustee Peter Coleman noted the site features a sensitive riparian area that must be protected, and a statutory right of way on the west side of the playing field has been established. He noted the Comox Valley School District, the Town of Comox and Northgate Education Society worked together to come to an agreement which ensures the sensitive area will be protected and the community will have access, via the right of way.
“The most important thing is that this place is going to be a school again,” he continued.
Comox Valley School District superintendent Sherry Elwood added closing Brooklyn school had been a hard decision in 2011, and she was delighted Gateway Academy now has a permanent location.
“I know that the sense of belonging, the sense of belonging for a student connected to their school, is the one of the most important factors in student achievement,” she said, noting the school’s “suitcase journey” of temporary locations over the years.
“So it is our hope, on behalf of the senior management and of the school district, that as you find your way here now, that you will find a place for your roots, for a story and ritual that becomes yours, because that’s really important for student achievement.”
Town of Comox representatives, including Mayor Paul Ives, were in attendance, as were school trustees, school district staff, community members and Gateway Academy parents, staff and students.
After the presentations, Elwood told the Record the $2.4 million will go into the district’s capital reserve funds for future capital expenses.
For more information about Gateway Academy, visit www.cvchristian.com or call 250-339-1200.