Dear Members of the Penns Valley Area School District Board:
As a Penns Valley resident and parent of two soon-to-be school age boys, I wish to offer my enthusiastic support for the proposed Ram Community Center (RCC). As a community we are afforded a remarkable opportunity to bring to fruition a privately funded, not-for-profit asset for public good. This facility has the clear potential to serve a true cross-section of our community. Such a project stands not only to benefit the students of the Penns Valley Area School District (District), but their friends, neighbors, families, parents and grandparents. How many communities are given such a chance to aggregate much needed school resources, sports education, fitness, healthcare, daycare and senior services all under one roof? Furthermore, how many communities are able to do so without need of taxpayer support and in a location central to the preponderance of its residents? We collectively have much to gain and I trust in our wisdom to take advantage of this opportunity.
As an architect, I am fortunate to be able to serve as a senior executive for one of the world’s largest architectural practices, and in doing so, serve as a global leader for our healthcare group. I lead a practice delivering over $8 billion worth of construction value of healthcare facilities worldwide through our 25 offices in Asia, North America, Europe, India and the Middle East. From this vantage point, I can offer that there is an unequivocal and growing global trend to capitalize on the potential for public-private partnerships to deliver much needed social infrastructure. While the scale, structure and reasons may vary, many countries and communities face the same challenges – how to provide services without taking on new debt, increasing taxes or assuming additional risk. The RCC mission is very consistent with this ideal and is frankly a sterling example of how communities and government bodies should partner. The mission of the District stands to be the prime beneficiary -- serving your students and the community while minimizing your cost and risk profile.
As a result of the breadth and flexibility of my professional role, my wife and I could make our home in any number of places. My wife and I have made Centre County our home for the better part of the last 15 years and Penns Valley our home for the last 9 years. Our decision to live in Penns Valley is a conscious one. We are fortunate to be able to raise our children in this community. Ours is the kind of place where our children can and will be known by their teachers and classmates. Ours is a diverse culture embracing those making their living in agriculture, those tied to the University, the Amish, as well as, those engaged in any number of endeavors from the arts to owning a small business. It is my belief that the strength, and strengthening, of our community comes through support of important academic, as well as, social infrastructure.
In concluding, as a father and parent, I believe we can and will need to do more to maintain the thriving community we now have, and simultaneously, prepare our children for success in a global community. The District is unique in your ability foster this kind of success. Your smaller size and abundant extracurricular offerings mean that our children are able to participate in many activities which grow their minds, bodies and character. It is my belief that these offerings teach students valuable lessons in commitment, competition, collaboration, compassion, ethics, hard-work and fair-play. These opportunities are resource intensive and we are fortunate that the RCC Board; its volunteers, partners and supporters, are willing to play an important role in sustaining this effort with little to no risk to the District. This is why our family has committed our money, and particularly through the efforts of my wife, our time.
I thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration of this unique opportunity.