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December 16, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, December 16, 2005

New Alta Vista campus ready to go New Alta Vista campus ready to go (December 16, 2005)

Continuation school set for 150 MVLA students

By Molly Tanenbaum

Doors were opened this week for the new Alta Vista continuation school during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for students, staff, board members and the community.

"It's the most amazing thing that's happened in 12 years of teaching," said Alta Vista teacher Jodi Disario of the new venue. Disario is especially pleased about the 4,500-square-foot multi-use room in the front of the school because it has a stage for her drama class.

Teachers and about 150 students will begin their second semester Jan. 4 at the new campus, which is located on Bryant in Mountain View, just past the Mountain View-Los Altos district offices on the city's old water tower property. Alta Vista enrolls juniors and seniors who aren't achieving academically or personally in the traditional high school setting.

The campus project came in on time and $231,000 under budget, according to Superintendent Rich Fischer. Planning for the project began in 2002, when the city council approved a 40-year land lease of the property to the high school district for $1 a year.

The 16,499-square-foot collection of classrooms and support space replaces a 40-year-old, cramped, rundown facility. The new campus has 10 classrooms instead of eight, including a computer lab and a library.

In a speech following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Alta Vista principal Bill Pierce credited Fischer with securing the water tower property and making the project happen.

"Rich's coming on board as superintendent was a pivotal moment for this school," Pierce said.

Part of the afternoon ribbon-cutting featured a surprise tree-planting and a plaque in front of the new campus to honor Fischer, who will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Current Alta Vista students and alumni were also in awe of their new facility.

"I think people are definitely going to be more motivated at this school," said Alta Vista junior Chantel Muranaga.

She and senior Krissy McIvor are eager to make the move and get away from some of the less appealing features of the old campus, including limited bathrooms, lack of space to play basketball, holes in the floor and ceiling, and its general ramshackle condition.

"When it rained, it was really depressing," McIvor said.

The students have been taking an active role in the upcoming move, helping pack up materials at the old campus.

From Pierce's new -- and much larger -- office, he will be able to see the quad while sitting at his desk, a personalized feature. He said the Alta Vista teachers also took part in designing their own classrooms.

"I'm most excited to have a physical plant that reflects the quality of the program and the staff," he said. Pierce believes the new campus will give students and staff a renewed sense of pride in their school, adding that he hopes the lot in front of the campus, now owned and maintained by the city, can become a community park.


E-mail Molly Tanenbaum at [email protected]

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