See What God Has Done
On Thursday, Sept. 25, nearly 150 people gathered at the front entrance of Palisades Christian Academy for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new school located in Spokane, Wash. Formerly known as Spokane Jr. Academy, PCAs dream of a new building has been through at least ten years of development. This year, school opened Sept. 8, on time, in the new building.
"Walk through the building and see what God has done," invited Art Lenz, chairman of the building committee, at the ceremony. Other speakers for the celebration included Bob Folkenberg Jr., Upper Columbia Conference president; Peter LaPlante, school board chairman; Stephanie Gates, principal; Keith Wilkens, finance committee chairman; Al French, Spokane city councilman; and Bonnie Mager, Spokane city commissioner. Those touring the building spoke of its beauty, functionality, size and practicality.
PCA served as its own general contractor under the consultation of Ron Knutson, an area businessman and friend of Christian education, and his construction managers, Brian Fritts and Brian Gardner. Many volunteer hours were donated by church members from each area church which significantly reduced the total cost of the project. Keith Wilkens, Art Lenz and Ted Lutts, project treasurer, organized Sunday work bees for framing, cleaning, painting and many other needed tasks. John Norman, who teaches at a local community college, donated his summer months to manage the landscaping. A couple of years ago, Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder Teen Mission Adventure dedicated their spring break to develop the ball field and clear debris from the site, preparing it for construction.
Having sold its old facility more than five years ago, Spokane Jr. Academy eventually moved to a rental location a few country blocks from the building site. For the last two years teachers, parents and students eagerly watched the progress on the new school. Shortly before moving into the new facility, school board members began discussing a name change to go along with the new facility.
"We wanted a name," says Brian Harris, former principal, "that would show we were distinctly Christian and uniquely Seventh-day Adventist." The school's official name, voted by the constituents in May 2009, is Palisades Christian Academy: A Seventh-day Adventist School. The name Palisades was chosen because a wildlife refuge known as Palisades Park is directly west of the cliff behind the school.
Pre-school through 10th-grade students are currently housed in the facility along with a new daycare center, Palisades Christian Learning Center. Future plans include building a gym with music rooms attached, a cafeteria and a separate daycare facility. It is the prayer of the constituent church members, parents and teachers of PCA that this facility will shine Jesus' love into the Spokane community until His return.