As 2023 began, there were very few signs of construction on the site where Gilbert Christian Schools – Val Vista Campus sits today. Just over seven months later, the school welcomed 500 new students for the school year. On Thursday, Gilbert Christian Schools (GCS) and Willmeng Construction celebrated the opening of the fourth GCS campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the Val Vista Campus students and parents.
“You know, in this era, the timetable we were looking at; challenging isn’t the right word,” said Willmeng CEO James Murphy. “Getting here is a testament to the work our building team put in, but we’re not here without the leadership from Gilbert Christian, the county and the Town of Gilbert. The town went above and beyond to support a hybrid delivery that’s creative, and one of the main reasons that we’re in this beautiful facility today.”
GCS-Val Vista, located at 22201 S. Val Vista Dr. in Gilbert, just south of Ocotillo Road. The campus was designed by Phoenix firm MRT Design. It is a cutting-edge, PreK – 8th grade educational facility. The campus sits on a 10-acre site and boasts an extensive array of amenities, including a 51,555 square-foot main building, which houses 33 classrooms, with an additional seven classrooms dedicated to special education. The classroom building also contains specialized rooms for music, art, computer learning, as well as two science laboratory classrooms, a conference room, restrooms, a multipurpose room, and offices and workspaces for teachers and staff.
There is an 11,310 SF gymnasium, and a cafeteria. Exterior spaces include an exterior basketball court, PreK and Kindergarten playground, a football sports field, two outdoor courtyard spaces, a 200-space parking lot, and a dedicated area for support facilities.
“This is the second campus we have built with Willmeng Construction and each time I come away impressed by the people who work at Willmeng, not only for their knowledge and expertise on how to construct a school of excellence, but also the character of the people we interacted with,” said GCS Superintendent Jim Desmarchais. “I know we had a challenging construction schedule, but once again, Willmeng delivered.”
“I’m just in awe of what the Lord does and how he works,” GCS Board President Matt Johnson said during the ribbon-cutting event. “To be standing in this building is humbling. The last thing you want to do is start a school and not have it done, but the Willmeng team delivered and I’m super impressed by everything that the Lord has done to move us in this direction.”
Brian Hay, Principal at GCS-Val Vista, presided over the ribbon-cutting event, which included two student speakers. The Val Vista Campus joins three other GCS campuses in Gilbert, the original Agritopia campus, the Greenfield campus and Gilbert Christian High School. Willmeng served as the general contractor on construction of the Greenfield Campus at 4341 S. Greenfield Rd.