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Castaic high school meets more roadblocks

Objections raised over traffic concerns

Posted: September 4, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: September 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The Hart district's decision this week to consider two potential sites for a Castaic high school has left some concerned about infrastructure surrounding the spots.

"I think they're going to continue to come across problems," said John Kunak, board president of the Castaic Union School District.

One site, Hasley Canyon at the corner of Hasley Canyon Road and Sloan Canyon, was once a possible location for a high school, but complaints from neighbors about traffic and disrupting the rural lifestyle thwarted any plans.

The Santa Clarita Valley Facilities Foundation, which helps the Hart district construct new schools, already owns the site.

"I don't think the Hasley/Sloan site is going to work," Kunak said. "I think they need to continue to look at the other sites on the table."

The Green Valley Ranch, located along Del Valle Road approximately a 1/2 mile from the intersection of Hasley Canyon Road, is also being considered.

While Gloria Mercado-Fortine, board member for the William S. Hart Union High School District, acknowledged the difficulties with Hasley/Sloan, she thinks things have changed.

"I think it's a totally different climate than it was way back," Mercado-Fortine said, who serves on the district's growth committee with board president Steve Sturgeon.

Students living in Castaic now attend West Ranch and Valencia high schools, which are overcrowded.

In November 2008, local voters passed Measure SA, a $300 million bond, with a top priority to build a high school in Castaic.

Besides the previous opposition from neighbors who did not want a high school in Hasley/Sloan, Kunak, who represents the Romero Canyon property owner interested in working with the district, brought up concerns with the bridges and streets that are required for the high school and the actual amount of usable acres for the site.

"Absolutely all of the sites have challenges and so does Hasley/Sloan," Mercado-Fortine said, adding that now the process involves looking at how issues can be mitigated in the most economical way.

The Hart district has commissioned traffic studies for both the Hasley/Sloan and Green Valley Ranch sites, and engineers have begun analyzing traffic flow and potential traffic control requirements for each.

Environmental studies are also being commissioned and the district has contacted a civil engineering company to examine both properties to determine the usable acreage as well as the shape of the building pad.

"There's so many things that have to take place," Mercado-Fortine said.


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