Board names new San Ramon school as Bella Vista Elementary

Campus scheduled to open in Dougherty Valley for start of 2016-17 term

The picturesque panorama from San Ramon's newest elementary school has become its permanent calling card, with the school board voting Tuesday to name the campus Bella Vista Elementary School.

"All you have to do is go stand on that site; that is the first thing (you notice). It explodes into your mind, the view," board member Mark Jewett said, referencing scenery around the future school such as Mount Diablo and local hillsides.

The Board of Education's vote was 4-0 in favor of Bella Vista -- the top choice of the committee charged with recommending a name for the new campus, expected to open in the Dougherty Valley in fall 2016. Board member Greg Marvel was absent from Tuesday night's meeting in Danville.

"In both Italian and Spanish, (Bella Vista) means 'beautiful view,'" said Terry Koehne, San Ramon Valley Unified School District community relations director and chair of the naming committee.

"When we looked at that suggestion, it just kept floating more toward the top, for a couple reasons," he told the school board. "For the obvious reason with the topographical area of the community, but also it honors the Latin history and Latin roots of, not just California, but this area of San Ramon as well."

Bella Vista is set to become SRVUSD's 36th school overall and the fifth elementary campus in the still-developing community in eastern San Ramon. District officials hope it will help alleviate current and projected overcrowding in Dougherty Valley elementary schools.

With campus construction set to get underway later this year, the task of obtaining public input for the new school's name and coming up with a monicker recommendation was given to a committee of nine people, including district officials, teachers, parents and a San Ramon city representative.

The school district conducted an online community survey earlier this spring, receiving nearly 625 votes and more than 400 different name suggestions.

Citizen ideas ranged from locally inspired names (like Dougherty Valley, Alamo Creek or Thomas Burnett) to historical references (such as President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein) to more spirited options (including Hogwarts Elementary or Chuck Norris Institute of Learning).

The naming committee reviewed the survey results and weighed various top options before coming to consensus in support of the Bella Vista suggestion, Koehne said.

"It was a fun process," he told the school board. "All in all, it was very quick. I mean, it really did not take us very long to reach consensus."

During the 20-minute discussion Tuesday, board member Ken Mintz pointed out that there is a Bella Vista Elementary School in Oakland and board vice president Denise Jennison referenced that four other SRVUSD school names already contain either "vista" or "view."

But in the end, Bella Vista received strong support from all four board members.

"I feel like I want to honor the work of the committee, and they probably vetted those kinds of things and came to this decision. And I like the name; I like it very much," Jennison said.

Bella Vista is planned for a 7.4-acre site in a yet-to-be-developed portion of southwestern Dougherty Valley, approximately half a mile southwest of the Dougherty Station Community Center and Library.

The estimated $29.6 million campus, to be funded through the Measure D school facilities bond, is designed to include two-story classroom buildings, library, multipurpose room, administrative building, child care facility, playgrounds, public ballfields, and state-of-the art technology and equipment.

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4 people like this
Posted by Lydia
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

Will Bella Vista be translated into Hindi and Chinese too?

2 people like this
Posted by Matty
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 27, 2014 at 8:32 am

I see they took the boring, zero-chance-to-be-controversial, hollow, and weak "PC" approach to naming the school... Sad and unfortunately predictable that they chose not to honor a local San Ramon hero like Thomas Burnett. Another "Vista"-named school in the area...yeah, we were starving for that. Having read in the paper they were going to do this despite all the votes for Burnett in the naming process just goes to show that the outreach to the community didn't matter. They were going to go with some vanilla pablum name that no one could ever get in trouble for placing on a school. What a missed opportunity... again...just sad and pathetic.

2 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2014 at 9:00 am

I so agree with Matty on this one. Another "Vista" is pure pablum for sure. I have a satellite office in Brentwood and they have a long and proud tradition of naming their schools after those in the community, teachers or otherwise that have made lasting contributions to education. Sad that this horribly PC world here in the bubble of the San Ramon Valley they cannot break out of their mold formed by the fear of offending those that never had a history here in this Valley.

Like this comment
Posted by Admin
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 27, 2014 at 10:42 am

System test

2 people like this
Posted by Smitty
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:29 am

Shame....shame. We have two great heroes in our community namely Sully and Tom Burnett and the board failed on this one. Not many towns have even one hero and we chose to ignore ours.

1 person likes this
Posted by Dave
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 30, 2014 at 6:27 am

Disappointing but not surprising

2 people like this
Posted by The Original Dave
a resident of Danville
on Jul 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

It is sadder that, in this nation of immigrants, we still have folks like Lydia who look for every opportunity to demonstrate their pathetic racism.

It must be tough to be so consumed by hatred for newer arrivals to this land of opportunity that she can't remember the dreams for a better life that brought her ancestors (whenever that was) to our shores.

Like this comment
Posted by San Ramon resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 28, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Oh no! They should have chosen Thomas Burnett! A missed opportunity indeed. F grade for the board.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Blackhawk

on Jun 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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