Nearly half a century ago, Spring Valley Academy was founded as the successor to the original Seventh-Day Adventist school in the Dayton area. Today, the school is undertaking an ambitious new building project to add a chapel and auditorium space that will aid and emphasize the school’s mission to provide religious-based education and a welcoming environment for students.

“Our aim is to bring in lots of natural light into a more appropriate space for band and choir,” says Frank Perez, retired CEO of Kettering Health Network, of the auditorium space that will ultimately seat around 350. Perez, chairman of the board of Spring Valley Academy and chair of the development committee heading this project, notes that the school’s “emphasis on body, mind, and soul” means that it is “hugely influenced by the arts.”

The project is spearheaded by a number of local business leaders, some of whom have seen the difference the school has made in their own lives and the lives of their children. “It’s made a tremendous difference for me as a parent to have Spring Valley Academy,” says local contractor Tom Peebles, who saw three children graduate from the school. “[The chapel/auditorium] has been in the making for a long, long time. It’s a labor of love,” he says.

Roy Chew, current president of Kettering Health Network, says that Spring Valley Academy has had a tremendous impact on the health network. “We have many employees who are alumni or who have children there,” he says. In fact, the KHN community is so involved with the success of Spring Valley Academy that one of its surgeons played the iconic role of Captain VonTrapp in the school’s recent fundraising production of The Sound of Music.

“The school has a great mission; it provides a great opportunity for [students] to get a moral, Christian education,” says Chew. Mark Merrell, owner of Merrell Plumbing, agrees. “From the beginning, we planned to put a chapel in; it’s important for all kids to be in a chapel service once or twice a week,” he says. Merrell has sent four children to Spring Valley Academy, and he has seen the work ethic exhibited by the students when he owned a car wash business. “The Spring Valley Academy students outwork the other kids by far,” he says.

Overall, the project will help Spring Valley Academy serve its target populations, which include not only students from Centerville but also those from Dayton proper and even some from overseas. “It’s more than just music; it’s breaking barriers. It validates children that their education is something to be valued,” Perez says.

“When the time is right, it happens,” says Perez. “We’re developing citizens of the world who will make us all proud.”