• Fall of 2005: The University of California at Merced opened its 815-acre campus northeast of the city, near Lake Yosemite. The state invested more than $500 million in the university's construction and development. It opened with schools of engineering, natural sciences, and social sciences, humanities and arts. It includes the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, Health Sciences Research Institute and UC Merced Energy Research Institute. About 3,400 students now attend.
• August 2006: Enochs High School, Modesto's sixth public high school, opened on 70 acres at Sylvan and Roselle avenues in the northeast part of the city. The $105 million state-of-the-art campus was named for Modesto City Schools' longtime superintendent, James Enochs. It was the fourth Stanislaus County high school opened during the decade. The others were:
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
• In fall 2001, Waterford High School opened on 37 acres at Reinway Avenue and Yosemite Boulevard. It cost $14 million.
• In fall 2002, Pitman High School opened on 55 acres at Christoffersen Parkway and Kilroy Road in Turlock. It cost $44 million.
• In fall 2005, Central Valley High School opened at Central Avenue and Service Road in Ceres. It cost $53 million.
• March 2007: Ernest Gallo, who founded E.&J. Gallo Winery with his brother Julio, died at age 97. The brothers started the Modesto winery as Prohibition ended in 1933, and turned it into an international powerhouse. The family- owned company remains Modesto's biggest private employer.
• August 2007: Modesto's Doctors Medical Center started using the county's first robotic Da Vinci Surgical System. The $1.7 million system gives surgeons a clearer view of patients' anatomy and provides robotic tools for precise cutting and stitching, leading to less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery.
• September 2007: The Gallo Center for the Arts opened its 1,250-seat Rogers Theater and 444-seat Foster Theater in downtown Modesto. The $40 million venue began attracting professional performers such as Tony Bennett, Bernadette Peters, Paul Anka, Kenny Rogers, Dana Carvey, John Cleese, Hal Holbrook, Sara Evans and Ravi Shankar. The Gallo Center was the biggest but not the only large arts facility opened or renovated this decade. Others include:
• California State University, Stanislaus, opened the Snider Music Recital Hall in 2003. The 315-seat hall cost more than $1 million, but $500,000 of that came from Bernell and Flora Snider of Turlock.
• Modesto's State Theatre got a $2 million privately financed renovation in 2006, giving the historic downtown building a new facade, lobby, carpet and sound system.
• Modesto Junior College's auditorium doubled in size to 54,000 square feet after a $33 million makeover completed in 2008.
• August 2008: Modesto High School graduate Erin Cafaro won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics for women's eight rowing. Cafaro, a five- time national team member, was named the 2009 rower of the year by USRowing.
• October 2008: Diablo Grande, the 28,500-acre luxury residential and golf resort development in the hills west of Patterson, was sold out of bankruptcy court for $20 million to World International LLC. The previous owners dumped about $120 million into the resort over two decades before it financially collapsed, in part because of water supply problems. Only about 400 homes have been built of the more than 2,200 planned. But the golf course is open.
• October 2008: The Kaiser Modesto Medical Center opened its five-story towers. It became Modesto's third full-service hospital, but the first to be built since 1970. It debuted with 112 beds in private rooms, a birthing center, emergency department, digitally equipped surgery rooms and an electronic records system connecting the hospital to other Kaiser facilities. Combined with a specialty clinic support wing that opened in 2006, the center has nearly 670,000 square feet and cost $430 million.
• February 2009: A new St. Stanislaus Catholic Church opened in Modesto. The 26,250-square-foot Gothic- style church seats 1,300. It cost $16 million, including its gold-leaf cross, copper dome, limestone exterior, bronze baptismal font and red dragon granite altar. Other churches saw big changes, too:
• Shelter Cove Community Church moved into a $16.2 million, 800-seat, 62,000-square-foot facility on Coffee Road in Modesto in August 2007. The high-tech church is equipped to broadcast its services.
• The San Joaquin Episcopal Diocese became the first in the United States to split from the national church in 2007 over issues such as gay marriage and the interpretation of Scripture. This June, more than 90 percent of the congregation at St. Paul's Church in Modesto became the first in the country to walk away voluntarily from its more than $2 million property on Oakdale Road rather than face a lawsuit by The Episcopal Church USA.
• April 2009: Heidi Sierras of Ceres was baptized as a Catholic by Pope Benedict XVI during the Easter Vigil service in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. She was the first Stanislaus County person to receive the honor.
• December 2009: Dynamic quarterback Isaiah Burse capped the decade by leading Modesto Christian High School to a state football championship. He accounted for 55 touchdowns as the Crusaders finished their season 15-0. The team beat Parker High School of San Diego 44-40 in the CIF's Small School Bowl in Carson.