The issue of locating a campus for Castaic High School dominated the agenda of the Governing Board meeting of the William S. Hart High School District.
The board received reports on the two potential sites – Hasley Sloan and Romero Canyon – from experts in cultural resources, endangered species, geologists and roads; including a significant amount of research on the abandonment of an oil well on the Romero Canyon site. The board is considering which steps to take next as they proceed toward building the much needed school, which is anticipated to house more than 2,600 students.
Biological resources discovered on the Hasley-Sloan site included the Slender Mariposa Lily and the Spadefoot Toad, which could require mitigation unless five years of surveys showed the toad was no longer living in that area.
It was noted that the Coast horned lizard and the Western Whiptail were likely to have habitat at both Hasley-Sloan and Romero Canyon, which could result in loss of 35-80 acres of habitat, a significant impact on either property. Mitigation parcels would have to be discussed. A similar situation would exist if Loggerhead Shrike and Southern California Rugous-crowned Sparrows lost their habitat to classrooms. Consultants determined that habitat at Romero Canyon was suitable for San Diego Black-tailed Jackrabbits, but not on the Hasley-Sloan property. Likewise, no badgers are expected at the Hasley-Sloan parcel, but are likely at Romero Canyon. Again, mitigation will probably be required.
Both sites would require some adjustments to meet water requirements; a bridge would have to be built over the Hasley Canyon drainage and bank protection would have to be provided at the Hasley-Sloan site and selection of the Romero Canyon site would require filling in about 2.0 acres of streambeds.
Of the two sites, Romero Canyon is a significant wildlife corridor and may require the construction of a wildlife crossing at Romero Canyon Road and habitat enhancement at the eastern tributary of Romero Canyon.
Access to each site in terms of roads were assessed by Austin-Foust Associates, who determined that, at build out and full capacity, all roads to the Romero Canyon site – I-5 offramps, Parker Road, Ridge Route Route, The Old Road and Sloan Canyon Roads would all require significant mitigation (road widening and installation of traffic signals) that might not be feasible in the short-range. Road conditions seemed slightly better for the Hasley/Sloan site; the improvement of Sloan Canyon Road between Hasley Canyon and Hillcrest Parkway would be required, along with some improvements near Commerce Center Drive and Hasley Canyon Road.
Extensive geology reports are being presented to the Board; both sites have steep terrain and several shallow landslides. The Romero Canyon site has an elevation difference of more than 650 feet across and landslide complexes where pads are designed for buildings.
Geotechnical studies were proposed, with estimates ranging from $146,000 for the Hasley-Sloan site to $233,000 for the Romero Canyon site.
A significant amount of research was completed regarding the abandonment of an oil well on the Romero Canyon property to be in compliance with various government entities. An estimate of $496,000 was given from one company to complete the capping and cleanup process and two other estimates, one $50,000 and another $196,000 for handling/monitoring the abandoned well.
Board members will have a lot to consider to move this project forward; KHTS will provide an update on Thursday after the board meeting.