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Construction has not begun for Castaic High

Hart district officials still hopeful school will open in 2016

Posted: September 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Construction still has yet to begin on the site of Castaic High School, but officials from the Hart district remain optimistic that the school will be ready to open by its targeted date of August 2016.

Ben Rodriguez, chief operations officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District, said earlier this year the goal was to have construction crews on the site in April, but as of Thursday, construction still had not begun at the school site.

“We’re not at that point yet,” he said Thursday. “We hope to be at that point soon.”

Since the district board gave the go-ahead to the project last year, officials have been working with state and county agencies to secure the proper permits for the site, which needs to happen before any grading work can take place, Rodriguez said.

“I’m working as hard as I can to make sure we meet the 2016 date, but needless to say there are a lot of other local agencies and state agencies involved,” Rodriguez said.

He said he and other district officials have been meeting with stakeholders from the Castaic community and representatives from Los Angeles County to see what they can do to move the project forward.

District officials pushed back the school’s opening until 2016 earlier this year after the school was deemed unlikely to be completed by the original targeted opening date of August 2015.

Earlier this year, Rodriguez said preparing the site for construction, including grading the area and setting up utilities, would take about 12 or 13 months to complete, followed by 24 to 26 months of construction of the school itself.

Rodriguez said Thursday that is still the general timeline the district is following, but that things could accelerate once construction actually begins.

“With projects like this at this scale, once you have your permits and you’re physically doing work at the site, then you can begin to look at how you expedite things,” he said.

The idea of a high school in Castaic has been bandied about for more than a decade. Funds for the school come, in part, from the $300 million Measure SA bond that was approved by Santa Clarita Valley voters in 2008.

But the project faced a series of setbacks, first in securing an appropriate site, second in securing proper access to and from that site.

The chosen location for the school is in a fairly remote area of Castaic, a fact some say could choke nearby roads with school traffic.

Others have raised concern over whether there is enough access to and from the school site.

Plans for the school include a northern access route from Sloan Canyon Road and Canyon Hill Road, with a secondary public southern access point via Barringer, Romero Canyon, Sloan Canyon and Valley Creek roads, along with gated emergency access using Romero Canyon Road.

However, the school is allowed to open even if the southern access route is not completed in time, according to plans approved by the board.

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