At the site of the future Altamont School on St. Francis Street, school district officials took golden shovels in hand and symbolically broke ground for the $30 million school.
Lori Raffanelli and her 21-month-old son, Jack, watched the event.
As a resident living near the school, she looks forward to Jack attending class close to home.
The elementary school is slated to open in August 2014, the same month as the town’s first high school.
“It’s exciting, it’s very exciting,” she said. “It will be nice to have one for our community — it makes us feel complete.”
Superintendent Dale Hansen told a gathering of about 100 people that the school was “a long time coming.”
Fighting back his emotions, he said the “project is a passion of mine.”
“We needed a school, so I said, ‘Let’s get it done,’” he said.
According to Hansen, planning for the K-8 school was part of the district’s mission to stay ahead of the growing student population in Mountain House.
It took district officials five years to acquire the needed funding, he said.
“They told me we won’t be able to build this, not enough money,” Hansen said. “If you tell me we can’t do something, you’re going to have a fight on your hands.”
Once built, the Altamont will serve 800 to 900 students in 34 classrooms, with buildings for administration, a library and a multipurpose room that will include a cafeteria and classrooms for music and special education.
The project architect, Dan Rossetto, of Nichols Melburg and Rossetto Architects in Redding, said he anticipated the construction of the school would take about a year to complete. It will have a wooden frame with a rustic look to match the houses in the neighborhood, he said.
During the ceremony, numerous community and school officials credited the success of the project to the superintendent. Hansen will retire from the school district June 30.
“Mr. Hansen put his blood, sweat and tears into this project,” said school board member Matthew Balzarini. “Hansen was persistent and got it done.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.