Already a week ahead of schedule and just days away from the start of work on the school’s infrastructure, community dignitaries and residents gathered at the future site of Mountain House High School on Central Parkway near Mascot Boulevard.
Lammersville Unified School District Superintendent Dale Hansen was one of the people watching years of preparation spring to life. He called the project a milestone for the community’s master plan and one of the final pieces in giving Mountain House an independent pre-kindergarten-through-12th grade school system.
“Great noise out there, isn’t it?” Hansen asked the crowd of about 100 people, referring to the construction equipment. “Years and years of preparation, so a ground-breaking feels good.”
The high school will be on 46.5 acres off Central Parkway. The first phase of the project will consist of an administration building, classrooms, cafeteria, gymnasium and vocational education facility. The school is slated to open in fall 2014.
“Such an exciting day,” said school district President Matthew Balzarini. “I can’t put into words how excited I am.”
Balzarini said it was especially gratifying, since one of the reasons he had his wife moved to Mountain House in 2004 was to become pioneers of a new community.
Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, whose district includes Mountain House, said her work 20 years ago as a trustee of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District helped make developers responsible for paying for schools. That type of master planning spread, she said, makes schools like Mountain House’s possible.
“It’s fun to see the fruits of that,” Buchanan said. “Having a high school and connection to the community college has raised (Mountain House) to a whole new level. This is a wonderful community. People love living here — they take ownership for the community. I love you. This is a day I’ll remember.”
James Hiramoto, who retired from the Lammersville board in March, said much of the project’s credit should go to Hansen and board members Balzarini and David Pombo. He said they did a lot of work behind the scenes to make it possible.
Hiramoto said when he moved to Mountain House in 2006, residents were promised a high school within three years. Although no one could have predicted the housing crisis that delayed the high school project, Hiramoto said those who remain will be able to reap the benefits
“Now we’re growing like gangbusters,” Hiramoto said. “It’s a great feeling while cities like Stockton are going bankrupt.”
Watching the ceremony with their toddler daughters were mothers Veronica Ledesma and Misti Goncz.
“I think it’s amazing watching her future develop and grow,” Ledesma said, holding 14-month-old Elizabeth. “I’ve been living in Mountain House for two years. It’s a small town, and a high school builds a culture.”
“This should help with housing prices,” Goncz added, holding 18-month-old Pepper. “I think it’s great. Really stoked to see them developing it. It’s why we moved here five years ago — selling point.”
According to a construction official from Turner, the company handling the work, the site should be graded by Friday, July 20, and work on sewage and water lines will begin the week after.
The underground work is slated to take a month and a half before paving starts for the buildings.