Delta College classes finally kick off in Mountain House
by Justin Lafferty
Aug 17, 2009 | 3973 views | 31 31 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Delta College will have to make do with portables as classrooms for the foreseeable future. Justin Lafferty/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — After spending the last 10 years planning for this day, Jessie Garza-Roderick didn’t hesitate to spend one last weekend getting everything ready.

Garza-Roderick, the dean of San Joaquin Delta College’s South Campus at Mountain House, spent most of her weekend cleaning up the school and preparing it for today’s first day of classes. She said she’s barely had enough time to unpack her office.

This is the first semester of Delta College at Mountain House, at 2073 S. Central Parkway, having moved from Tracy over the summer. Delta College’s main campus is in Stockton.

Garza-Roderick said this new campus, while just a set of portables as opposed to the initial vision of a permanent building, offers more opportunities. She said there were only 6 classrooms at the Tracy center compared to 19 at the 126-acre Mountain House center.

“It’s a lot of work, but it was well worth the wait, just to see all the young students out there,” Garza-Roderick said. “They’re just so grateful. They’re portables and they’re excited.

“Students don’t ask for a whole lot. They just want an education, I believe.”

Today, Garza-Roderick is still running around campus, but now it’s to talk to students and faculty to gauge their feelings on the center. So far, she said she likes what she hears.

“It was nicer than I expected, because I heard rumors that it was just like the old portables at West High,” freshman Nathaniel Vestri said. “Definitely not. Much better.”

Garza-Roderick said the Tracy campus averaged about 2,100 students per semester and Mountain House has opened with an enrollment of about 2,700. She said she was never worried about the disadvantages of lacking a brick-and-mortar campus and being somewhat isolated.

“I’ve done this before,” Garza-Roderick said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years.”

Unlike the Tracy center, the Mountain House campus has a student lounge and library. She said the campus will feature a cafeteria next summer.

It also has chemistry, biology and physics labs. Garza-Roderick said in the near future, Mountain House will have a microbiology lab for pre-nursing students as well as more science courses. Right now, the new center offers 134 classes.

Garza-Roderick said she has also planned to expand into alternative energy, offering classes about solar and wind technology by the spring.

A few courses are still being held at Tracy and West high schools, but should move to Mountain House by next year.

“It’s pretty exciting because it’s a chance for us to grow and see a lot more students,” English professor Bob Bini said. “We’re going to be able to offer not only more sections, but a wider range of classes. It’s just been building and building.”

Garza-Roderick said that even though Delta College is no longer located in Tracy, she wants to keep ties with the city. She said she doesn’t see it as the college breaking away, but rather just moving down Interstate 205.

“In 15 years, there’s not going to be a difference,” she said, noting a need to think long-term. “The only thing that’s going to separate Tracy and Mountain House is going to be the freeway in the middle. It’s all going to be one community.”

Contact Mountain House Press reporter Justin Lafferty at 830-4269 or

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April 26, 2010
The challenge is attracting well qualified faculty and excellence in education. The campus buildings, cafeteria etc become secondary.

dr s s dhillon, MH
September 05, 2009
Jesus, people can be such jerks. Go ahead and continue on to Las Positas... farther than MH when you're already complaining about the extremely long and arduous trek to the edge of the county. We won't miss you.
August 27, 2009

I see where you are coming from and you sound like a reasonable person. Sorry for taking it personal but when you have people from Tracy ripping on my town, how can I not take it personal. I'm not saying that you are like others that have made comments first but people from Tracy should realize how much more value we are adding to the area and hopefully down the road more will be built in our town. Hopefully Delta College can bloom into something nice for the entire community at some point but only time and money will tell.
August 26, 2009

Actually that money goes to the county. The Delta College has limited classes. Nobody's bitchin an moanin' bout MH residents who bitch about not wantin' to move to Tracy. Don't take it so personal. They are meetin' in trailers at the Delta College MH campus. And there's no bus service out there. There is a Las Positas College west of there, about fifteen minutes drive. Las Positas offers a lot more.

August 26, 2009
I will start off by saying that I moved to Mt. House a couple of months ago and I love it. Okay people of Tracy I'll state the following. Yes we don't have a gas station, store, restaurant and etc. but its only a few minutes drive to your town. Had my home been built in Tracy no freaking way would I have moved there. Its true Tracy and Mt. House are two way different communities. Delta college may look like a joke but its a learning institution. Who cares what it looks like. The key is that our kids (and yours) is that they are getting an education and becoming a contributor to society. Its interesting that Tracy a town that has zero Tech companies or any major business company would bitch about Mt House people and our community. You do realize that when we pay our water, garbage and property tax bills. That goes towards the local economy which helps you. So just be happy that we are here to help you and you are not the next tragedy like Detroit.
August 24, 2009
Ornley, that is very true. However, this campus was supposed to be built differently and due to the inept people the funds were squandered and thus a vastly different and poor version got built. Maybe if it was done here in Tracy in the first place, that might not have happened.
Ornley Gumfucgen
August 24, 2009
Interestin. Especially th comments. Seems a lot of people either don't know or have forgotten th history of Las Positas, formerly Chabot extension from Hayward.

As I recall it was build on a hunk of dirt out in th middle of nowhere about 30 years ago.

People complined about it then. Out in the sticks, no transportation fer th students an limited classroom abilities.

How th worm has turned.

August 23, 2009
"Is your suburb the next slum?

Once the symbol of the American dream, many suburban communities could be on their way to becoming tomorrow’s slums.By Melinda Fulmer of MSN Real Estate

The nation's suburbs — once the symbol of the American dream — are well on their way to becoming tomorrow's slums, some experts say.

The one-two punch of a crippling recession and higher gas prices have quelled demand for many of the nation's fringe communities from Charlotte, N.C., to Sacramento, Calif., while at the same time demographic trends have begun pushing an aging population back to the nation's urban cores.

That's prompting some planners to predict a huge surplus of large-lot suburban properties in the years ahead — as many as 25 million homes by 2030, according to Arthur C. Nelson, presidential professor of city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah and director of its Metropolitan Research Center.

What's your home worth?

Not all of these homes will sit vacant, Nelson says. Many of them will be divided up into multifamily rental properties.

"You will have two or three households living in these large mansions in the suburbs," Nelson says, adding that this will bring property values down and put extra strain on public services.

Suburban ground zero

That's already happening in places such as Elk Grove, Calif., a community 15 minutes outside Sacramento. Here, builders rushed to build subdivision after subdivision — putting up 10,000 tract homes in just four years at the height of the boom — confident that buyers from all over the Bay Area would trade up to these larger homes.

They were wrong. When lending dried up and the economy soured, the bottom fell out of this market, even before all of the schools, parks and fire stations were built. Property values plummeted and many people walked away from homes they thought would never recover their value.

Susan McDonald, founder of Elk Grove's Franklin Reserve Neighborhood Association, saw her old house in the neighborhood drop in value from about $550,000 at the peak to $230,000 when it sold again recently. (She bought again in the same area.)

Many of the houses still sit empty, or have been rented out as Section 8 housing. Many of the lawns are brown and weedy. Graffiti are starting to crop up on walls and signs throughout the area. Sheets, not curtains, are tacked up in some windows.

Read: Jail time for dirty pools and dead lawns?

More alarming, property crimes in Elk Grove, such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft — soared tenfold in the first six months of this year from the same period in 2007. Violent crime is on the rise, too, jumping 18% in that same period, according to reports by the Elk Grove Police ..."

August 19, 2009

What animosity are you refering to? I think you are being too thin skinned or over dramitic? The prez wants to conserve fuel economy and we end up wastin it out on some country drive out there to Alameda. Almost.
August 19, 2009
I'm amazed at the animosity Tracy residents have towards Mountain House. I'm also amazed how the opening of a SCHOOL can bring out such hostility! It's a SCHOOL, people, it's a place for folks to gain an education! And here you all are, pissing on it like it's a turf war. PArt of me is laughing out loud because it's NEARLY impossible to believe you folks are even half serious. Another part of me is a little freaked out by how narrow-minded some of yo sounds. I get this mental picture of a few Raiders-clad semi-literates being pissed off just for the sake of it.

Come on, people, think clearly: we now have a new place for being to better themselves! In a state who's economy is failing miserably, we're lucky to have this school open anywhere.

Damn, you folks need to grow up. I know some of you would hate everything about Mountain House no matter what, but don't pass that off off to your kids.
August 19, 2009
To anonymous: Yes I have been there. I have been in some of those "ugly" homes. There is one style that is built like a duplex. Two homes under one roof. Two separate entrances and a common back yard. Oh, not to forget but there is an inside door that leads from one home to the other. What a joke. The homes do not impress me one bit. An ugly home is an ugly home no mater what age it is or who built it.
August 19, 2009

I looked out there in Mountain House, CA and wasn't impressed either. They definitely aren't the "finest". Aren't these the same old developers that go around from town to town?

The streets of Mountain House, CA would be ideal for drag racing - mile long stretches of road - haven't seen a police out there yet.

And asthetically as far as the eye can see they are built like crak/row houses. Maybe that's what Shark meant. I get thought that too.

And that trailer park of a school out in the middle of nowhere. Not really ideal as you make it sound.
August 19, 2009
SJSharksFan, are you really only now coming into this discussion? This has been going on for years now. Trailer park? I'm sorry, but portables were designed to be an intermediate structure until the permanent buildings were built. It was going to be VERY shortlived until people voted in a bunch of Tracyites into the Delta College board that nixed any permanent buildings. Now we'll just have to wait until we get new blood in there to vote in a way that makes sense.

Honestly, for everyone on here that is complaining of not being able to ride your bike to school - I don't know who does that anymore these days anyway. Not even High School kids ride their bike to school (perhaps 30 to 50 kids at best?) so the fact you're complaining about that is outright silly. Sorry you didn't get a college in your backyard, but you'll have to get over it. The facts speak for themselves. Did you even read the article? The first day of school in the first semester, the Mountain House campus already has more kids attending than the Tracy campus had. And to those talking about classes still being at Tracy High schools, etc., the article mentions it will be transitioned to the MH campus once the labs are built.

With this kind of attendance, it will be inevitable that permanent buildings will eventually be built. And when the economy gets better, MH will pick back up with the quick paced build-out and there will be lots there. Sorry if you're too shortsighted to see the future. The only laughing stock there would be is if we were to leave the campus in a dilapidated Tracy building where classes were limited due to size or lack of attendance. Get with it people, this campus is being built in a needed area and in a great location. The truth of this will be more evident each year. And for those who are crying that this should have been in Tracy. Go grab a tissue and a nice pillow.
August 19, 2009
SolidJoe, are you serious? Really? Have you ever even been to Mountain House? Ugly houses? Ha, ha. No home is older than 5 years and they are all built by some of the top buiders in our area: Pulte, Shea, Lennar, and Centex. Obviously someone is foolishly bitter and has an ax to grind. Good thing intelligent people just gloss over your brazen and banal comments...
August 19, 2009
I'm all for a college education - have a B.A. in Microbiology myself and couldn't survive without a secondary degree in this day-n-age. But, I want to know - as a Tracy and SJ county resident- how much did this trailer park cost me?

I'm sorry for being so blunt. I'm frustrated with the half-a** and short-sided vision that our elected officials have taken with our children's education and our money. We want to make this region a place for folks to clamor to - not be a laughing stock!

Tracy Press - thanks for reporting it as you see it!
August 18, 2009
Can someone sue the SJDC since they didn't provide "permanent buildings? Wasn't it written into the bond (Measure L) that the voters approved of 'permanent structures and buildings'? Not trailer parks. I wonder if this was voter fraud and breaking the law? And if that's the case I think MH should be shut down in January.

The lack of bus and transportation issues with roads off the freeway over there are a safety concern as far as I'm concerned. I can't figure out how college aged (and high school aged) kids should have been subjected to that by Delta College Board of Directors? Also, there's nowhere for them to work. Like say Jamba Juice, or something. Forcing them to go back down the freeway to work for college money seems wrong

I think it was folly on SJDC part and if they let the ball drop then shouldn't they should be investigated for voter fraud, if applicable.

I'm confused. Tracy offered *free* land. Tracy had classes, high school labs, hospital *all* here in Tracy, CA. And SJDC turned around and wasted tens of millions of dollars. Money appropriated by the Voters Measure L bond money.

That money should be reappropriated so that the voters can have a fair say in what they approved. A committee should be appointed to decide what happens in January 2010. After the grand jury report, I don't trust SJDC to do that, by themselves.

Do you?

August 18, 2009
Tracy and Mountain house will always be separate. Mountain House is sham of a community. It's not even a real town. Most of the houses are ugly and there is no amenities except for one small store. No gas stations and no restaurants and the wind there is horrible. I wouldn't live there unless it was the last place on earth. What a joke.
August 18, 2009
What a ridiculous place for a college campus. Out in the middle of no where. The Delta College Board must have been paid off. The city of Tracy offered them "FREE" land for their campus. Now students living in Lathrop, Manteca, French Camp, Tracy and other outlying communities have to travel even farther. They might as well just drive to Stockton and attend a real college at a real campus.
August 18, 2009
Our college students (and yes high school students) should not have to go through that just because stubborness of Delta College Board and their failure to recognize a multi-million dollar mistake. The blogger DMHC says there are 3000 students and that is a flat out LIE. The fact is some of those students are in Tracy classes. And still others will drop out.
August 18, 2009
Majority of the Bond money was diverted to the Stockton campus - What was left is the result of the trailer park in the middle of a wind swept grass field in the middle of nowhere!

The county roads leading to the campus are a hazard and I hope no one is killed or in an accident driving the roads just to get to the campus!

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