The Hart district could be opening Castaic High School in 2017-18, two years later than originally anticipated, according to district officials, who expressed concern over the permitting process.
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The discussion came during the regularly scheduled updates on Castaic High School at the regularly scheduled board meeting.
“Right now, it’s appearing to us that 2016 is not going to happen — we’re working with the county right now on updating that date,” said Gail Pinsker, Hart district spokeswoman, noting the concerns were brought to light at Wednesday night’s board meeting.
While commending the job of Ben Rodriguez, chief operating officer for the district, board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine mentioned bureaucratic obstacles, which have been frustrating school officials.
“We are concerned about the 2016 opening,” she said. “The way the permitting process has been going with the county, it has been a slow process. We can’t continue unless the county gives us approvals on the grading. That has slowed down the process considerably.”
The district initially intended to hire a principal in spring 2015 to work with incoming Castaic Middle School students, as well as other feeder schools in the area. Due to the permitting concerns, the district is expected to have to re-adjust its timelines in several area in respect to the school’s opening, Pinsker said.
In May 2013, district officials delayed the opening from it’s initially project 2015 opening.
Castaic High School, which went through a more than decade-long search for a site before settling on the hilly, 198-acre site in Romero Canyon, has roughly 7 million tons of dirt to be moved before it’s ready for construction to commence.
The site has been a controversial topic, although there’s been widespread acknowledgement for the need of a Castaic High School.
Related article: Castaic High Groundbreaking Met With Cheers, Protest
The site was also the subject of a 2012 lawsuit from the high school’s neighbors, which cost both the district and the developer, Romero Canyon LLC, about $100,000.
A major concern for the settlement of the lawsuit was the timeframe for when a secondary access road would be built, said board President Steve Sturgeon, shortly after the settlement was announced.
Related article: Hart District OKs Settlement Over Castaic High Lawsuit
“Castaic High School is a very large and complicated project, and we want to make sure the kids have a safe environment to learn in,” said Joe Messina, board member for the William S Hart Union High School District. “We want to make sure everything is done right, and so does the county, so we have to be meticulous in the permitting process.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News