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UPDATE: EIR released for Castaic high school

Report details effects on community

Posted: July 24, 2012 10:10 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2012 10:10 p.m.

Hart district officials released an environmental impact report for the proposed Castaic high school site Tuesday, detailing how plans for a new campus might affect the community.

“We are so excited to finally see this document,” said Flo Lawrence, a Castaic Area Town Council member. “As a member of the Town Council who’s followed this from the beginning, I couldn’t be happier with the compromise that’s been reached.”

While some praised the findings, others said they were concerned there won’t be enough access to the school, at least initially.

“The main thing is dual access (from the north and south of the school) from day one of the school opening, for the safety and convenience — so students can walk and take bicycles to school,” said Richard Lanksy, president of Citizens for Castaic. “One route in and out just isn’t safe.”

Citizens for Castaic was formed in response to the initial site proposed for a Castaic high school.

The 545-page EIR establishes alternate routes toward the proposed campus site, but the report states no southern access is needed until the school reaches an enrollment of 1,601 students.

The EIR plan creates two access scenarios for the school. The first scenario has two separate routes leading to the 71.4-acre campus, both splitting off from Sloan Canyon Road, which is located north of the proposed campus site.

The second scenario could kick in when the school enrolls more than 1,600 students. At that point, access from the south would be added via a Romero Canyon Road route.

“These access scenarios were carefully negotiated with local residents to minimize the effects of traffic on the people who live closest to the school,” Lawrence said.

“There’s no way to not impact some of these residents. But the district and the property owner have worked diligently to try to meet the needs of those residents in the proposed area,” he added.

The high school is expected to enroll approximately 320 students for its first school year, which will begin fall 2015, according to projections. The new school’s capacity would be 2,600 students when it’s complete, according to the EIR.

“Population projections and home-building plans for the Castaic and Val Verde areas show a need for a high school in the area in the future, and building it now in anticipation of this growth is financially prudent, good for the area economy and will well serve families in the short term,” Rob Challinor, William S. Hart Union High School District superintendent, said in a news release.

Click here to view the Environmental Impact Report.

The final EIR is projected to be submitted to the Hart school board for certification at the Oct. 3 meeting, the release stated.


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