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Construction to break out all over Hart district campuses

Besides building Castaic high school, officials will be overseeing several campus improvements

Posted: March 23, 2013 5:05 p.m.
Updated: March 23, 2013 5:05 p.m.
Artist's rendering of the interior of Canyon High School's planned new auditorium. Plans for the Saugus auditorium are "virtually identical," officials say. Artist's rendering of the interior of Canyon High School's planned new auditorium. Plans for the Saugus auditorium are "virtually identical," officials say.
Artist's rendering of the interior of Canyon High School's planned new auditorium. Plans for the Saugus auditorium are "virtually identical," officials say.

Summer break is shaping up to be a busy building season for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Projects at Canyon, Hart and Saugus high schools and Placerita and Sierra Vista junior high schools are all expected to break ground in the coming months, according to Michael Otavka, director of facilities, new construction for the district.

By the end of the bond-funded construction work, the district will sport new classrooms, new athletic facilities and new auditoriums at its existing schools, along with a brand-new high school in Castaic, officials say.

At Hart High School, the district is planning to build a new, two-story building that will house 22 classrooms as well as add two new tennis courts, bringing the school’s total number of courts to six.

The district also plans to modernize Hart’s cafeteria and its multi-purpose room, as well as the library and administration buildings.

“That library is really not at a standard for a high school,” said board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine.
New two-story classroom buildings are also planned at Placerita and Sierra Vista junior high schools, according to Otavka.

In addition, the district plans to update Sierra Vista’s locker room and multi-purpose room. It will examine whether it is more cost-efficient to tear the latter down and build a new structure.

“If it’s going to cost us the same to get a new building, let’s get a new building,” Otavka said.

Various modernization efforts are also planned for Canyon and Saugus high schools, but the major project at each campus is the construction of 450-seat auditoriums.

Each auditorium is expected to contain drama and stagecraft classrooms, Otavka said.

The auditoriums at both schools will be constructed adjacent to existing parking lots, but Otavka said neither will have a large adverse impact on the number of available spaces.

The primary parking lots for both high schools previously featured parking spaces that were slanted instead of straight, an alignment Otavka said was so inefficient that Canyon High School actually gained parking spaces just from re-striping the lot in a straighter configuration.

All of the projects are funded from the proceeds of Measure SA, a $300 million bond approved by voters in 2008. As it stands, those projects will take up roughly $91 million of Measure SA funds.

The largest project funded through the bond is expected to be the Castaic-area high school, which has been allotted $160 million in funding from Measure SA.

Several other projects are being funded through another bond measure, Measure V, a $158 million bond approved by voters in 2001.

The district has about $1.7 million of those funds left.

Upcoming projects that will be funded through Measure V include adding two new tennis courts at Saugus High School and creating a facility for special education students at Golden Valley High School.

The rationale behind expanding tennis courts at district schools is that schools with six tennis courts are eligible to host athletic California Interscholastic Federation tournaments, Otavka said.

All district high schools either have or are planned to have six tennis courts, according to Otavka.

At a Hart district board meeting Wednesday night, Mercado-Fortine asked whether the district can so many projects going on at the same time.

“I’d like to hear some plans as to how you can possibly do all these projects,” she said.

District Chief Operations Officer Ben Rodriguez said construction for many of the projects is still pending approval from the Division of the State Architect, a state agency that oversees building projects for schools, and that district staff will provide updated time frames for all construction projects as they become available.

“I imagine in the next few months you’ll be tired of seeing us come before you with projects for approval,” he said.
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