2017: Mountainside High School opens its doors
Editor's note: This story is part of the The Times' special series, "Decade in Review." This series features three stories that helped to define each year of the 2010s. These can retell single stories that captivated readers of the time, a saga that played out across many articles, and even stories that were crowded to the margins by other news at the time but have made a lasting impact on our region.
With its distinctive cuboid appearance and its placement on the outskirts of town, Mountainside High School is like no other public high school in Beaverton.
Beaverton's sixth neighborhood high school opened in September 2017. The grand opening featured a 5K run and an open house for interested community members to look inside the state-of-the-art building.
Mountainside cost $185 million to construct at the corner of Southwest 175th Avenue and Scholls Ferry Road, signed as Highway 210. It serves southwestern Beaverton and parts of Aloha and Tigard, although the Beaverton School District's boundaries only extend a few blocks south into the River Terrace development in Tigard across Highway 210. Most of River Terrace's high school population is divided between Tigard and Tualatin high schools.
Construction took about two years. When the school opened for the 2017-18 school year, it included just freshmen and sophomores. The 2019-20 school year is its first with all four high school grades.
"It's all about firsts, and we're going to be the first graduating class," said sophomore Maddie Stoehr, who transferred to Mountainside for the 2017-18 school year.
With its boxy shape and dark gray exterior walls, Mountainside was — and is still — occasionally likened to a prison. But on the inside, it's remarkably airy, with large windows letting in lots of natural light. That construction also makes it a "greener" building than others in the Beaverton School District, with lower power requirements.
Amenities at Mountainside include the largest high school auditorium in Oregon, classrooms and other learning spaces optimized for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and CTE (career technical education), and a vast array of athletic fields with artificial turf.
"I really am excited to be taking food classes," sophomore Jasmine Abdallah enthused at Mountainside's grand opening. "I thought that was so cool, because at Beaverton they didn't have that."
Since Mountainside opened with no junior or senior classes in 2017-18, it took a little bit of time for its athletic programs to come along. The Mountainside Mavericks have already made some noise in the 2019-20 school year, with the football team upsetting previously undefeated Tigard in the state playoffs and the girls basketball team scoring a coup when Southridge standout Cameron Brink decided to transfer to the new school for her senior year.
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