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Board wants to build now

Measure SA funds made $300 million available to Hart district for construction

Posted: June 28, 2009 10:08 p.m.
Updated: June 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
With the Hart district now able to access Measure SA money, district officials and board members are planning to use the funds in the most effective way.

"This is the time to build," said Dennis King, board member for the William S. Hart Union High School District, during the district's Wednesday meeting. "This is the time to do construction."

The down economy has created a favorable bid climate for the Hart district as it pursues projects like the modernization of junior high and high schools.

Board members, including King, said the priority list shouldn't prevent necessary construction projects approved by voters from taking place.

Some projects could also be completed on a shorter timeline than a major project like the construction of a high school in Castaic.
"We're in a good position right now that we should take advantage of," King said.

Local voters passed Measure SA, a $300 million bond measure, in November.

First priority projects include the acquisition of a site and construction of a Castaic high school, modernization projects at Hart High and Sierra Vista and Placerita junior high schools, and auditoriums for Canyon and Saugus high schools.

Second priority projects involve upgrades and renovations at Bowman, Valencia, La Mesa Junior, Rancho Pico Junior and Rio Norte Junior high schools.

If other projects move ahead of the Castaic high school, the district will make sure that whatever money becomes necessary for the school will be kept aside in the coming years, said Hart district Superintendent Jaime Castellanos.

The first round of $38 million will be used for debt service connected to construction costs of Golden Valley High School, Castellanos said.

Michelle Lecrivain of Valencia is critical of the Hart district for using the first of the bond money to pay off a debt service.

"This is not what they voted yes for," she told board members Wednesday. "That is not what the people went to the polls for."

Castellanos said voters were well aware of the need to pay off the debt.

"It was in the bond language," Castellanos said in a phone interview.

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