Altamont School opening celebrated in Mountain House
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jul 15, 2014 | 4924 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Altamont grand opening
Lammersville Unified School District board members Sharon Lampel (from left), Matthew Balzarini, David Pombo, Micaela Vergara and Shane Neilson cut a ribbon in front of the Altamont School administration building, officially marking the school’s opening, on Wednesday.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The sound of young laughter complemented the sight of children running through the campus of the Lammersville Unified School District’s newest K-8 school on Wednesday night.

A few hundred residents gathered inside the multipurpose room at Altamont School, 452 W. St. Francis Ave., to commemorate the school’s official grand opening.

Altamont is the fifth K-8 school to open in the district and the community’s second school to open in less than two weeks, following the grand opening of Mountain House High School on June 28.

“I’m excited, relieved and proud,” David Pombo, LUSD board president, said. “A lot thought it would never be built. It’s a big day for the community and the district.”

During the opening ceremony, several dignitaries addressed the gathering, including Superintendent Kirk Nicholas, school architect Wesley King and Principal James Yeager.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Panther country,” Yeager said, referring to the school mascot.

“We are gathered to celebrate the birth of the Altamont School,” he said. “It’s a testament to the character of the Mountain House community. Tonight we are hitting our stride … tonight we are beaming with Panther pride.”

Yeager told parents the school would offer a rigorous, student-centered instruction and that the opening was just the start of their journey to make children’s educational dreams a reality.

After the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, residents were invited to roam the 16-acre campus, visiting the classrooms, library and playgrounds.

LUSD trustee Matt Balzarini watched as residents filed through the administration office, saying the vision of the residents made the hard work worthwhile.

“I’m thrilled,” he said. “It’s a long time coming. This is a beautiful school, this is a beautiful event.”

Balzarini credited former Superintendent Dale Hansen with the district’s success in achieving the completion of Altamont and the high school. He said Hansen’s relentless actions and determination helped the projects come to fruition.

“Mission accomplished,” he said.

Walking through a classroom, the mother of three future Altamont students, resident Angela Halasz, expressed pleasure at the overall look of the campus.

“It looks really good,” she said. “I like the playground. The classrooms look really nice, nice and new.”

Looking through one of the elementary-grade classroom, resident Rebecca Nacarro said, “It’s great. I’m really excited to see what they end up doing (in the classroom). I like how it’s set up for learning through projects.”

Watching his children on the campus playground equipment, resident Edward Giordano said he liked what he saw. The father of three said he had watched the school being built, and he liked that it was centralized in the Altamont Village neighborhood.

“It’s amazing,” Giordano said.

The school is expected to serve 800 to 900 students in its 34 classrooms. It will open its doors to students in August.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

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