North County Academy Celebrates New Elementary Campus
North County Academy (NCA) marked the completion of their new elementary classroom building and state-of-the-art playground with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the culmination of a years-long effort to bring primary students onto the same campus as the high school.
Elementary students were previously in portables on the Buena Vista Elementary School campus that had been used for adult continuing education, lacking the ideal setup for young learners and had no play area.
“This grand opening is a testament to our shared vision and commitment to running the best possible educational setting for our students,” said Principal Stephen Gotowala. “We’ve always met that commitment with our staffing and our program design. And today, I’m proud to say we have met that commitment with our facilities.”
More than 20 staff and guests attended the milestone celebration. The new building includes two classrooms, a therapeutic sensory space, and a state-of-the-art playground, which were built on the southeast portion of the NCA campus.
NCA provides students from throughout North County in grades Kindergarten through 12 with specialized mental health services and supports. Approximately 50 students are on campus at one time, with nearly 100 rotating in and out throughout the year. The school welcomed its first students on Aug. 23.
Gotowala and other NCA staff had input on the construction and design of the classrooms and play structure so it’s better suited to the needs of the students.
He said the transition for students into their school can often take time but is hoping that the new facilities will provide a more welcoming environment and reduce the time it takes for students to adjust.
Rebecca Nobriga, executive director for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education, was excited about the opening of the new facility and shared that a student who had toured the campus earlier in the week said “this is the greatest place ever!”
Initial funding to start the project was provided by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) with North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) member districts providing final funding. Member districts include: Bonsall Unified, Cardiff Elementary, Carlsbad Unified, Del Mar Union, Encinitas Union Elementary, Fallbrook Union Elementary, Fallbrook Union High, Oceanside Unified, Rancho Santa Fe Elementary, San Dieguito Union High, San Marcos Unified, Solana Beach Elementary, Vallecitos and Vista Unified.
The school is located in Carlsbad and operated by NCCSE in affiliation with SDCOE.
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