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Citizen ideas ranged from locally inspired names (like Dougherty Valley, Alamo Creek or Thomas Burnett) to historical references (such as President Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela or Albert Einstein) to more spirited options (including Hogwarts Elementary or Chuck Norris Institute of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