The new facility will house the preschool program through sixth grade, while the seventh through 12th grades operate inside the main building, which all resides on Baring Boulevard. Vice Principal Kristopher Dahir said the new elementary school building proves growth in the school, adds a sense of stability and really “feels like home.”
“The new building, I believe, brings a proof that we are going be here in the future,” Dahir said. “When we have something that is a rental or is mobile, then it kind of says maybe you will be here and maybe you won’t. But us putting in a new private elementary school on campus with a private high school, private middle school, private gym and eventually our field — it really shows permanence.”
Excel Christian hustled to finish the new building this summer after announcing a merger with Legacy Christian School, also of Sparks. That added more than 40 new students and Legacy’s entire administrative and teaching staff. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini read a recognition for the staff, teachers and students of the school and said the school’s presence in Sparks has been beneficial.
“Like I said at the groundbreaking, it pleases me much to see this property being put to good use,” Martini said. “It has been a good property for a long time and I am so glad Excel Christian School is here now. Whenever we do something for our most precious commodity, our kids, I think it is a wonderful time in the City of Sparks.”
Dahir said the school’s relationship with the City of Sparks, and Mayor Martini, was crucial to finishing the project and keeping the school on its growing curve.
“We had a great group of people and a lot of volunteers who helped get it done,” Dahir said of the new elementary school. “There are always hiccups when you try to upgrade a property and they (the City) have worked with us and they have helped get us fully functioning. It has been great working with the City. We have enjoyed that and the Mayor has been great for us.”
Principal Lisa Cross addressed the crowd gathered outside the new building, recalling a time when the school was much smaller but had dreams of growing to its current size. Dahir said the school is nearly full to its capacity after about 60 new students entered this year, and likely will hit that mark next year.
“I remember thinking when I was a teacher here in 2003, and we would walk over to this property to use the gym, before it was our facility,” Cross said. “We used to dream about our school being here. We used to say, ‘We wish we could have this property. We wish we could be here.’”
Excel Christian School is in full swing on its 2013 school year and has more students buzzing on campus than ever before. Dahir said it is an “exciting” time throughout the school and the future looks bright for the private entity.
“Without that building, we would not have been able to merge. We wouldn’t have had the room,” he said. “Our community is definitely acknowledging that we are a viable option. All of that continues to build a strength that says we can help educate this area and that we will do a good job.
“We feel like we have landed in our home. The environment is safe and exciting and it feels like we are here to stay and not like we just moved in.”