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Castaic high school site approved

Posted: October 16, 2008 10:31 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2008 5:00 a.m.

It's official: In a few years Castaic high schoolers will be attending their own school in a residential area near the Sterling Gateway industrial complex.

The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board voted unanimously Thursday to approve the site located at the end of Witherspoon Parkway off Commerce Court in Castaic.

"Our decision was based on the (district) growth committee's recommendation and input from various community members, including the Castaic Area Town Council," said Board President Gloria Mercado-Fortine. "It was a pretty extensive process."

The Sterling residential site was selected mainly because of its easy access and nearby utilities. Access to the school is through the commerce center rather than through a residential area, and utilities are available about 1,000 feet from the site, Mercado-Fortine said.

"The other sites - while they are very beautiful - you'd have to come down residential streets to get to them and utilities are further away," she said.

The district was trying to avoid another public outcry like the one that happened a few years ago when the Hasley/Sloan site was suggested for the high school in Castaic, Mercado-Fortine said.

"There was an outcry from that surrounding community, saying that (the high school) would impact them negatively," Mercado-Fortine said. "They wanted the area to remain rural."

While no school site is going to please everyone, the board felt that the site they approved met most of its criteria.Now the real work begins, Mercado-Fortine said.

"Now we can really start some hard core negotiating for acquisition of the site and get in there and do some studies," she said. "We need to do some real due diligence."

The process of building a high school in the Castaic area has long been a priority for Mercado-Fortine, who grew up in Castaic.

"It's been a long time coming, and I am just thrilled.

The Castaic community has been hanging in there for many, many years," she said.

While the district has the funds to buy the land, the $300 million school construction bond Measure SA would have to pass on Nov. 4 in order to get the funds to actually build the school, Mercado-Fortine said.

"Even if we acquire the land, we still need Measure SA to build the school," she said.


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