youth music
Students from Crown Point Junior Music Academy during a violin performance. Photo via @sdschools Twitter

Pacific Beach’s Crown Point Junior Music Academy Friday broke ground on its classroom and music center while honoring the legacy of the school’s violin academy founder.

The whole site modernization project for the Universal Transitional Kindergarten to 5th grade school was kicked off with San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Lamont Jackson, district leaders, and the family of the late Stephen Luchs, the originator of the school’s violin academy who died in April.

“Stephen Luchs’ dream for students and parents to be involved in music and learning played a key role in the upcoming music center at CPJMA,” Jackson said. “We are so grateful that the renovations to our aging buildings will be influenced by a beloved teacher who cared so much about music and our school community.”

CPJMA became a music academy in 2008, after teacher Luchs brought the Suzuki Violin program to what was then known as Crown Point Elementary. Luchs taught both students and parents “how to play violin together, perform together, and bring awareness to the importance of parent involvement,” a school statement reads.

In addition to its Suzuki Violin program, the school also offers a free after-school music club and music enrichment instruction in homeroom classes. Open to 4th and 5th-grade students, the music club offers instruction from professional musicians and focuses on instrument-playing skills, playing and writing songs, and making audio and video recordings.

The project includes the construction of a new kindergarten facility, a music center and maker space, renovated classrooms, a safe and secure main campus entryway, and outdoor improvements, according to a school statement.

The new kindergarten building will replace an aging portable classroom along Fortuna Avenue and will include classrooms with modern technology, furniture and collaborative workspaces.

Plans for the project will also provide outdoor improvements, including a learning area near the music and maker space, three new play structures and a shade shelter in the kindergarten area, a new play structure and shade shelter in the upper-grade playgrounds, hardscape striping, an expanded parking lot, and a dedicated student drop-off and pick-up area along Jewell Street.

“Outdoor facilities play just as key a role in team building and collaboration as indoor learning environments,” said Cody Petterson, Board of Education Trustee for San Diego Unified. “We are thrilled to bring outdoor workspaces and new play areas where CPJMA students can thrive and grow.”

Construction on the CPJMA Whole Site Modernization is estimated to be complete by the summer of 2025.

City News Service contributed to this article.