BCA Architects landed on the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal’s list of top 25 regional firms for the fourth consecutive year. This year BCA ranked 10th on the list, moving down five spots from last year’s rankings.

Firm founder and president Paul Bunton, AIA, says that making the list at all is an honor during these tough economic times. “We’re really honored to be in the top 10 firms in Silicon Valley after coming through a recession where half of all architecture firms have gone away,” he says.

Bunton attributes the firm’s success to its areas of specialization—particularly education—and the clients’ commitment to improving their local facilities.

“The security and safety of the students and staff is the number one priority, so we’re taking a lot of these older schools and tearing them down and replacing them, or modernizing them, to make them secure places where learning can happen uninterrupted,” Bunton says.

Using the school building as a type of fence to block off the perimeter, he says, is one model that’s proven particularly successful. Play areas are in the middle, which allows teachers and staff to keep a better eye on who enters and exits the area.

On Tuesday, the Mendota Unified School District Board of Trustees voted in favor of placing a $19 million bond measure on the November ballot to secure funds for building a third elementary school in the area. BCA Architects created a long-range master plan for the school district and would run point on the design of the school and other facilities funded by the bond, if it passes.

“Even though the California school system is struggling so much with its budget, it’s still so important to improve facilities,” Bunton says. “There is a direct correlation between safety and modernization of buildings and student learning, and teachers recognize this.”