Mountain House High opens to rave reviews
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jul 02, 2014 | 4880 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grand opening
Lammersville Unified School District board president David Pombo speaks to the crowed in front of the administration building during the Mountain House High School grand opening on Saturday.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Described as the center of the community, Mountain House High School attracted a crowd of hundreds Saturday to see the completed first phase of the campus during a grand opening event.

Visitors remarked on the striking appearance of the sprawling campus, at 1090 S. Central Parkway, as they passed through the two-towered administration building to a large quad at the heart of the school. Once inside the quad, paths lead visitors to a multitude of buildings, including state-of-the art classrooms, a cafeteria and two gymnasiums.

“Four years ago, the governing board of Lammersville Elementary School District led the charge to unify our school district with a specific vision and the purpose of creating Mountain House High School,” Principal Ben Fobert said to a tour group. “Our critics said it couldn’t be done, that we’d never have our own high school, and yet today, together, we stand on this beautiful campus to celebrate another new beginning for our community.”

The superintendent of Lammersville Unified School District, Kirk Nicholas, said the school was for the present and future students of the district, and credited many for its completion.

“(You) set a stage for what is a historic opportunity to demonstrate to all of California, and frankly the nation, on how to educate kids and build a facility that inspires excellence,” he said.

Nicholas told the gathering that he joined the district a year ago to find multiple construction projects underway and a legendary story about an epic effort of a community that came together to take care of its children.

At the center was retired Superintendent Dale Hansen, who was present Saturday.

As speakers during the grand opening ceremony took turns talking about the accomplishments of the district, the school board and the former superintendent, Fobert became emotional when he called Hansen a “miracle worker.”

“Mountain House High School would not be here today without his vision and leadership,” he said.

In tribute, LUSD trustee Matt Balzarini announced that the school’s baseball field was being named Dale H. Hansen Field.

“Being told this project wouldn’t happen, seeing it today, it’s just been a wonderful thing, and it’s purely because of Dale’s blood, sweat and tears,” Balzarini said. “We would not be here today if it wasn’t for his leadership and expertise in the area of construction and education finance.”

Throughout the ceremony, the chant “Go Mustangs” was echoed by various speakers.

After the presentation, community residents roamed the campus, and many spoke highly of what they saw.

“It’s amazing and inspiring for the kids,” Tracie Picardo said, accompanied by her husband, Rick, and their children. “It’s unique, with a small community feel. I like the classrooms; they look like they’re in a college.”

Thirteen-year-old Yasmine Picardo said that as a basketball player on a Bethany School team, she liked the gymnasiums best. She expects to attend MHHS in 2015.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “I’m looking forward to playing on a team. It’s a big and beautiful campus.”

Vicki Bechman, who said she lives three blocks from the school, was excited by the prospect of sending her three daughters to Mountain House High.

“I currently home-school, but all (my children) will be coming here,” she said. “I think the campus is beautiful.”

“It’s like a dream come true,” resident Eve Low said. “I’ve been waiting for 11 years.”

Sitting in the new principal’s office, Fobert said he felt that the school represented exactly what the community was waiting for.

“I look at their eyes as they walk in, and this makes it worth it to them to stay in Mountain House,” he said. “They’re here because they want to be in this community.”

MHHS welcomes its first students in August. School officials are anticipating more than 500 students in the freshmen and sophomore classes combined.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

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