Monte Vista High School and Grossmont Union High School District representatives celebrated the completion of four modernized classroom buildings with a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
The Monte Vista High School campus now has a new library, guidance center, special education suites, and visual arts and cosmetology classrooms. Faculty and staff joined district representatives for a customary ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new buildings.
Representatives from the offices of local elected officials Sen. Joel Anderson, Rep. Duncan Hunter, and Assemblyman Marty Block were also on hand, giving certificates of recognition to principal Randy Montesanto and the school.
The four building renovations were funded by Proposition U, the $417 million bond measure passed by East County voters in November 2008. Montesanto said that the renovations to his facilities cost roughly $15 million. He also said that the school was about 80 percent re-modernized, and that there were about $17 million more in projects that will be completed over the next five to six years at the school.
“Parents have choice where their kids go to school nowadays, and they make decisions sometimes based on facilities,” Montesanto said. “We not only have to be competitive academically, which we’ve done by increasing or API 78 points in the last four years, but we also have to be competitive with the new facilities that some of the other schools have.”
In addition, the school also dedicated part of the new library to a former Monarch, Lt. Florence Bacong Choe. Choe, a 1991 graduate of Monte Vista was participating in a fitness exercise on her Naval base in Afghanistan, when she was shot and killed by an insurgent posing as an Afghan National Army soldier on March 27, 2009.
Choe was an avid reader, and while in Afghanistan, she helped start a United Through Reading program on her base, which allows soldiers to record video of themselves reading bedtime stories and send them – along with the books – back home for their families and children to see.
“She was an avid reader, and loved learning, and as we open up the new library, we want to open up a room where students read and study to her – in her memory,” said Montesanto.