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Romero Canyon site chosen for future Castaic high school

Posted: July 23, 2010 1:04 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2010 1:12 p.m.

The governing board of the William S. Hart Union High School District has selected a site in the Romero Canyon area of Castaic for a future high school to serve the Castaic area, and has directed staff to begin the initial study of the California Environmental Quality Assessment (CEQA) analysis immediately.

Concerned about a potential landslide area on the site, the board also directed staff to proceed with geology studies required to determine the depth of the landslides and the potential cost of mitigation.

The 5-0 vote for the Romero Canyon site follows months of consultant studies on such issues as traffic, geology, flood control, environmental impact and more. The studies found no "fatal flaws" on either the Romero Canyon or the alternate Hasley/Sloan site, and determined that either site could be developed in time to open a high school with ninth grade only in August 2013, as promised.

In the end, it was the tight timeline that led board members to select the Romero Canyon site, in the belief that developer Larry Rasmussen had the necessary expertise to produce a construction-ready site on time.

The board also instructed staff to begin negotiations with the Romero Canyon owner to determine a development timeline and purchase price for the high school site. The district must be able to negotiate terms which are agreeable to both the district and the developer before actual construction can proceed.

The district also will need to complete an Environmental Impact Report, choose an architect to design the new school, and get approval from the Division of State Architects before actual construction can begin.

The district hopes to open a core facility large enough to accommodate an incoming ninth grade class by August 2013.

Additional classrooms and facilities would be built as the school adds one grade a year, becoming a full four-year high school by the 2016-17 school year. When completed, the campus will have a design capacity of 2,600 students, similar to all of the district's current high schools.


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