It’s a significant milestone on a lengthy journey: On Friday, local leaders, educators, parents and future students of Castaic High School gathered at the school construction site to officially begin the one-year countdown to the school’s highly anticipated fall 2019 debut.
The mounting sense of relief is almost palpable.
It’s been two decades, in round numbers, since the William S. Hart Union High School District first began exploring the possibility of a new high school in Castaic to serve a growing population of students in the Castaic-Val Verde area. Talks began around 1999, when community leaders agreed that the Castaic community should have a high school to call its own.
The Hart District and the community started without a site, and without a funding source.
The search for a site began in 2001, and multiple sites were debated, considered and withdrawn from consideration over the ensuing decade. For the first few years of the search, it almost seemed as if every site had one fatal flaw or another.
Ultimately, a 200-acre site in Romero Canyon was chosen as the location for the 58-acre campus.
Funding was secured for the $126.2 million project as part of the 2008 voter approval of the $300 million Measure SA, and ground was broken on the school construction site in 2013.
There have been additional challenges to be met along the way, including Los Angeles County permitting requirements and the required construction of new access roads.
All of those challenges have been met, and now, the school buildings are taking shape on the site at the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Canyon Hill Road, both of which are new roads constructed in conjunction with the project.
Now, the school is expected to be ready for the class of 2023 to enroll as ninth graders one year from now.
Those students, currently in eighth grade, were on hand at the countdown event on Friday, and posed for a photo in front of their future high school.
It’s an exciting time for them and for the community, as they will have the opportunity to set the tone for the new school, choosing things like school colors and a mascot. They will participate in many “firsts” along the way.
The school itself offers some notable firsts of its own. As the seventh comprehensive high school in the Hart District, it will launch with classroom buildings that are designed to incorporate 21st century technology, and then some. The school will offer career technical education programs that will be available to students throughout the Santa Clarita Valley, elevating the Hart District’s capabilities to train the community’s youth for many technology-oriented careers.
And, through a partnership with College of the Canyons, the students of Castaic High School will have the opportunity to complete up to two years of college credit.
It’s taken a lot of hard work by a lot of people, from the Hart District’s staff and governing board, to the parents, to the project developer, Castaic HS Construction Inc., a subsidiary of the locally based Spirit Holding Inc. And, after a lengthy journey that began two decades ago, the one-year countdown is officially under way.
It’s a well-earned milestone, and like the rest of the community, we’re looking forward to celebrating when Castaic High School opens its doors one year from now.