According to Lammersville Superintendent Dale Hansen, a final dollar amount hadn’t been negotiated with Shea Mountain House LLC as of Thursday, May 31. But he said the developer’s anticipated contribution would allow the high school’s construction to go forward.
Hansen said the district talked with Shea for six months to nail down how much the company owed toward the school in fronted developer fees.
“We just couldn’t come to terms on how much they owed,” Hansen said.
Until Shea agreed to tentative terms Tuesday, the possibility of a high school in Mountain House — and the existence of the unified school district — was in doubt.
Hansen said that without the funds, the district risks not meeting a 2016 completion deadline under law that requires districts to build a high school within five years of unification.
With no high school, the district’s existing kindergarten-through-eighth-grade schools could be placed under the direction of Tracy Unified School District in 2016.
“The unification clock is five years, and we’ve already burned one year,” Hansen said.
But he seemed to have good news for those gathered Tuesday at the Wicklund School multipurpose room.
At 5:30 p.m. that day, Hansen said, the district board received a tentative agreement from Shea officials to provide the key funds needed to build the school, which could cost as much as $110 million to fully complete.
“We’re good to go now,” he said. “It’s a win-win to have a high school here … a K-12 ed is huge. This private-public partnership is a win for everybody. It’s so nice to have good news.”
After the superintendent’s announcement, the capacity crowd broke into applause. A few residents said they were there to voice support for the high school project.
Erin Healey, who attended the meeting, said she had two 2-year-old boys at home and a daughter attending Kimball High School in Tracy. She would have preferred to have her daughter attend high school in her own community, and she welcomed Hansen’s announcement.
Roxanne Felver, a district employee, also saw it as a positive development.
“This is really good news,” Felver said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. It’s very exciting.”
School district board President Matthew Balzarini said the 250,000-square-foot high school on Tradition Way next to the fire station would be built in phases. The first should be done by August 2014, including an administration building with second-floor classrooms, a multipurpose room and a gymnasium.
The second and third phases are expected to be complete in 2016 and include additional classrooms, a vocational education building, a library and sports fields.
The final phase, which he said would include a stadium, pool and a theater, should be built by 2018.
“I’m thrilled,” Balzarini said. “This is going to be the heart of the community. I was sold on a dream, and I believe in the master plan.”
The school board is scheduled to review the phase-one plans during its June meeting and break ground for the high school in July.
Hansen said the school district and Shea should agree upon a dollar amount some time next week.
• Editor Jon Mendelson contributed to this story.