Even as unpacked boxes were stacked up against the wall outside of his new office last week, Steven Pinkerton was ready to get to work in his office at the new Mountain House Community Services District headquarters.
Pinkerton, the CSD’s general manager, said that three flags — representing the USA, the state of California and Mountain House — would go up the next morning, March 17, to make it official: The new building on the northwest corner of Main and Providence streets is the new town hall for Mountain House.
The CSD staff has moved in as scheduled, but COVID-19 concerns mean that the new building at 251 E. Main St. is still closed to the public, and the grand opening, originally scheduled for April 4, will be delayed.
“When they take off the limit on public gatherings, we’ll have our function,” Pinkerton said. “We really want the whole community to celebrate this.
“There’s lots of things the community hasn’t had that now they’ll have that sense of place. The library is going to be spectacular. We’ve got the community room, the board room, the whole lobby area. It’s going to be the first time this community has had something indoors.”
Public works director Nader Shareghi showed off the interior of the building, including the 33,000-square-foot town hall. It’s a two-story building that has a community room right as people walk through the main lobby at the corner of Main and Providence streets and the CSD board’s meeting room at the end of the lobby.
Take a left turn at the staircase and the visitor is at the front counter of the CSD government offices. Behind that counter is a room filled with cubicles for the staff, and upstairs is even more office space, including Pinkerton’s and Shareghi’s offices, plus conference rooms and spaces for computer servers, security monitors and file rooms.
“We have to build it larger than we have staff for, because we want to make sure we have offices available as we grow,” Shareghi said.
The town of about 22,000 is expected to double in size eventually, and the town hall is designed to serve that population.
“We’ll ultimately be able to house about 60 people,” Shareghi said, adding that the CSD had nearly 30 workers in the office so far.
Just west of the town hall is the 21,000-square-foot library. Kathleen Buffleben, the Mountain House librarian since 2007, has been eager to move in since the 5,000-square-foot library down the street closed in June as construction began on Main Street leading to the new library.
She has to wait at least a few more weeks as the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library has closed all its branches because of COVID-19, but she was still able to unpack nearly 8,000 new books to add to the 14,000 to 15,000 volumes from the old location.
“We expanded our collection to fill in the space,” Buffleben said, adding that the new building had separate rooms for children, teens and adults in addition to study areas and other spaces.
“We’ll have a lovely program room now. It’s great. We have a makerspace room where we can do some fun things that we couldn’t do in our small little building. I know the people will enjoy having the extra space, and a quiet room for the adults.”