The selection of a site for the new Castaic High School is a step forward in a journey that’s taken more than a decade to get started. During the regular meeting of the William S. Hart High School District Governing Board Wednesday night, the board voted 5-0 to select a proposed 114-acre site in Romero Canyon for a school scheduled to open no later than 2014.
The Romero Canyon site was chosen over one in the Hasley/Sloan Canyon area which is owned by the Santa Clarita Valley Facilities Foundation, because conditions at the Romero Canyon site were more conducive to getting a school online quickly and to the greatest benefit of the community.
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Larry Rasmussen is the owner of the site selected. His company did the site work for Golden Valley High School for the Hart District and McGrath Elementary School for the Newhall School District.
“I feel great about this,” said Board President Paul Strickland. “I’m excited because Larry Rasmussen has a proven track record of getting things done in our valley and we know he’ll get it done by 2013-2014.
“Look what this will do for the economy in our valley,” he continued. “It will lift us up. Here we are in the (economic) doldrums and right here in Northern Los Angeles County, we are building a high school. Think of the jobs that are involved in that. What will happen when the economy comes back is that this will be the place to live.
“We have good, safe schools; communities that work well together, a city that works with the county and businesses that work with the schools to get things done.”
“We want to thank the Hart District’s consultants, the staff and the board for their hard work during this selection process,” Rasmussen said. “We are looking forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the Hart District and we are eager and ready to roll up our sleeves and get this project under way.”
Romero Canyon, LLC, plans to have a graded pad of approximately 50 acres ready for construction within 18 months, which will enable the Hart District to put the project on track for construction to be completed in time for the 2013 opening.
The Hart District governing board decision was a timely one, as any further delays in site selection would have jeopardized the timeline for construction. The Romero Canyon site, located near the expected future “center” of Castaic upon build-out, had garnered support from community organizations including the Castaic Chamber of Commerce, Val Verde Civic Association and the West Ranch Town Council.
Having selected a site, the Hart District has also increased its chances of being able to move the project forward in time to obtain state matching funds for construction.
Although the search for a site has been ongoing for the past decade, this particular site selection process — in which various sites were evaluated and narrowed down to the final two sites leading up to Tuesday night’s vote — was completed in approximately one year.
“The Hart District has been working diligently under the board’s leadership to get to this point,” Rasmussen said. “This decision is a ‘win-win’ not only for the residents of Castaic, who want and deserve a high school to call their own, but also for the entire Santa Clarita Valley, as the new school will help alleviate overcrowding on other campuses. We’re very proud to be part of it and we’ll be even more proud on the day Castaic High School opens its doors to students on the Romero Canyon property.”
Photos, maps and additional information about the Romero Canyon site can be found online at www.castaichighschoolnow.com.