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Castaic High faces delay

Expected opening date for new school has been pushed back to 2017 as district waits for necessary pe

Posted: June 15, 2014 9:35 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2014 9:35 p.m.

Hart district officials have pushed back the projected opening date for long-awaited Castaic High School another year as they work to get necessary permits.

The expected opening date for the school is now 2017, according to William S. Hart Union High School District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker.

“We have extended the projected opening date to 2017 and we are awaiting permits to begin grading,” Pinsker said. “We are anxious to get moving on this highly anticipated project for the students and families of the Castaic and Val Verde communities.”

This marks the latest delay for the long-planned project. Early last year district officials pushed back the anticipated opening date for the high school to 2016.

When the school does open its doors, it will welcome an inaugural class of ninth-graders only.

As of now, officials say, they are still waiting to secure the necessary grading permits to move forward with work at the school site in the Romero Canyon area of Castaic.

At the State of the County luncheon held in May, Edel Vizcarra, planning deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, said the district could get the necessary permits within a month.

“As you heard at the State of the County luncheon, we are expecting the grading permits to begin on-site work,” Pinsker said.

“It was announced that we should have that in the next 30 days. That is all we are looking for right now.”

Meanwhile, weekly meetings are being held on the project.

“Regular weekly meetings with project stakeholders are taking place, as is the normal course of business with all of our construction projects, whether they be for modernization or new construction,” Pinsker said.

Vizcarra said such meetings are helpful to keep everyone informed.

“We’re all on the same page now and we’re all working together to make sure that this happens,” he said of the school.



itzreality: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:11 a.m.

Once again the IMAGINERY Castaic High School makes the news. This whole imaginary project is a total disgrace and an embrassment to the community and the Hart District. I have lived in this valley for over 12 years and all I hear is about the imginary Castaic High School.
Only with unexperienced school board folks does this happen. If this was the corporate world it would have been long completed.
You can build a multi-million dollar hotel in Vegas faster. These folks should hang their heads in shame!! Not to mention the unnecessary millions it has already cost. And who will be stuck with the bill? Once again the taxpayers you and I!!

Idahogolfer: Posted: June 16, 2014 7:45 a.m.

Yeah..... But Vegas is in Nevada.... Not California. --edited.

CHIZIIS: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:50 a.m.

Does anyone recall when was the first time William S. Hart Union High School District first started talking about building Castaic High School?

EA: Posted: June 16, 2014 8:58 a.m.

By the time Castaic High School is started and/or completed, the school board will finally realize the students who were supposed to go to the school have finished KG, elementary, middle school, high school and college. And, the school board will continue to talk about single access and not two access roads to the school. --edited.

DMeyer: Posted: June 16, 2014 11:44 a.m.

Just build the darn thing already, no need to get the necessary permits, AEA doesn't.

alabi2k: Posted: June 16, 2014 12:13 p.m.

There are dozens of places where they could have put up that school and had it open and running next year(like any of the countless unused buildings in Commerce Center) and if they still feel that they will need a larger more permanent space (They should wait to see just how much demand they will have in the coming years)then they can bicker about permits and access roads and other bs. PS...they is no such thing as the perfect spot for a new high school, regardless....someone will complain.

castaicresident: Posted: June 16, 2014 4:36 p.m.

Well, well now. That is what happens when you make a BAD decision in the first place and try anything to shove something in where it doesn't belong in the first place. Running into land use and permit issues? Really? What a shock. Thank goodness for the watch dogs in this whole fiasco.

There were plenty of other locations that this high school could have been built, not back in a fire prone canyon with one way in and out. And, that is just one problem and one example of several irrevocable significant impacts that this area will suffer as a result of this horrible location decision that were clearly stated in the EIR.

Truly unbelievable after the EIR was done that they were still allowed to proceed with plans to build this high school at this location that was earlier approved for a housing tract.

For me, thank you watch dogs, at least you have some common sense.

bobforte: Posted: June 16, 2014 5:35 p.m.

True DMeyer. Haha.

castaicjack: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:28 p.m.

Not to mention the latest flyer mailed out to the residents of Castaic from the Castaic school district laments the fact that 200 students have gone elsewhere. It's no wonder Gibson and company are fighting the charter schools whenever and however they can. And with that kind of substantial loss of students, the high school can certainly wait for all of the additional development to be built, never-mind the drought. Most of the student influx will likely come from the development off the 126. Remember, the EIR noted only 245 students would be anticipated from the addition of 1,045 single family homes in Castaic, and as noted above, the school has already hemorrhaged 200 existing students. This mega-million dollar high school clearly does NOT need to be built for the minimal student population coming from Castaic and Val Verde, as claimed by Ms Pinsker who obviously hasn't been keeping up on current events regarding the severe loss of students from the Castaic school district. It's likely the Hart district is banking on an influx from outside developments in order to ATTEMPT to validate this boondoggle...

navy1987: Posted: June 16, 2014 6:35 p.m.

The sad part is that this is completely normal for building a public school. I know first hand, I spent 8 years as a Project Team Manager as a construction consultant for the school building program at LAUSD. The school districts have no concept of budget and schedule. There is absolutely no sense of urgency that you see in the private sector. I read the comments about the charter school and I smile. A charter school of the same size would be built in half the time and budget. No one at Wm. Hart is ever going to be held accountable for the wasted time and money, all the while the engineers, architects and bureaucratic government agencies will keep raking in the taxpayer money.

philellis: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:33 a.m.

Navy, as an LAUSD Project Team Manager I am sure that you are familiar with the requirements of the Field Act that apply to the public (but not the charter) schools.

timothymyers02: Posted: June 17, 2014 11:00 a.m.

philellis will know better, but Castaic High School was first mooted in the 1995-96 time frame when Newhall School District ("NSD") decided to run year round school to address capacity issues that have since been ameliorated by new school construction financed by bonds. Since that time the Hart District has built two new junior highs and two new high schools (Golden Valley and West Ranch). Once the site is figured out the schools go up pretty fast, so continued delays would indicate that there are problems with the Castaic site that are not apparent.

navy1987: Posted: June 17, 2014 11:16 a.m.

Philellis, Yes, I’m familiar with the Fields Act, (stricter seismic building codes for the safety of children) I am not specifically referring to “hard costs” to build a school. Even if charter schools were required to comply with the Fields Act, their overall cost and schedule would still be much lower and faster. It is the “soft costs” and approval process that are out of control for traditional public schools. The School Facilities Program (SFP) is one of the most complex and convoluted processes in state government. It is extremely cumbersome and time consuming. You have to deal with the OPSC, DSA, CDE, DTSC, Local District politics and all the other countless government agencies that have no idea what the other is doing. The Fields Act is a minor cost in comparison. Charter Schools need not worry about most of this bureaucratic red tape.
NOTE** As of 2011 it was noted by the DSA that there were approximately 16,000 uncertified (did not meet Fields Act standards) public school projects in the state. The State Building Standards Commission decided to approve emergency rules to enable mass approval of the 16,000 uncertified school projects, regardless of whether important documents were lost and without conducting any on-site reviews to verify safety building codes were followed. Basically, they are buried under their own red tape and can’t follow the very rules they have set up. --edited.

cms96: Posted: June 17, 2014 4:26 p.m.

Who are the Architects? They would have all the answers to the delays.

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