Officials at Shades Mountain Christian School have chosen a new name for the school once it moves to its new location in Pelham next year.
The school will become Heritage Christian Academy on July 1, 2017, when it moves to the 40-acre campus that now houses Pelham’s Riverchase Middle School, school officials announced.
The new name pays tribute to more than 40 years of history and is reflective of the school’s founder, the late Richard “Dick” Vigneulle, who often quoted Psalm 127:3: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, His offspring a reward from Him,” Headmaster Brian Willett said.
The name was recommended by a committee that included Willett, school faculty, board members, parents and alumni and was approved by the board of directors.
It’s sensitive to the school’s history but also helps the school move forward in a new location as they seek to fulfill their mission of helping provide an education to the children of Christian parents, Willett said.
Shades Mountain Christian School has shared facilities with Shades Mountain Independent Church on Tyler Road since its founding in 1974. More than 1,000 students have graduated from the school.
“We’ve got a good program,” Willett said. “We just can’t continue to expand in this facility. We’ve outgrown where we are right now.”
Bill Vandiver, the school board president and a Shades Mountain Christian School alumnus, said in a news release that moving the school marks the beginning of a new chapter in the school’s heritage. “It will allow us to grow and expand our ministry,” he said.
Shades Mountain Christian now has about 250 students, Willett said. The new 40-acre campus in Pelham, which cost $4.25 million, will allow the school to serve up to 600 students from 3-year-old kindergarten through grade 12, he said.
Riverchase Middle School, at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, will be moving to land near Pelham City Park and formerly a part of the Belle Vista mobile home community. The school is being renamed Pelham Park Middle School.