Castaic High School is without gas weeks before opening

Work continues on the football field and the gymnasium in the distance at Castaic High School in Castaic on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

Castaic High School, which is slated to open for the first time in August, does not have natural gas hookups or piping installed, which could possibly delay the school’s opening, according to people with knowledge on the matter.

“There is no gas,” said Randy Wrage, project manager for the high school. “We’re waiting on the gas companies to come and lay pipes.”

Wrage said the school will not open on time for this school year without the proper sign-offs, potentially leaving the $126.2 million project on a 200-acre site at the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Canyon Hill Road vacant.

“It’s not like you can flip a switch and all of a sudden there’s gas and electricity,” said Wrage. “It will not open without gas. We need the gas soon.”

According to officials with the Southern California Gas Co., they are still in the process of obtaining the Los Angeles County permits necessary to build the infrastructure for the utility.

“We’re looking at laying the pipe,” said Marisol Espinoza, a spokeswoman with the gas company. “We have a process that we follow.”

“Where we are right now, the project has been planned we have applied for permits,” said Espinoza. “We applied for permits with Los Angeles County …  we’re going to know more on Monday.”

“(County officials are) reviewing the permit, and once we get the permit we can say, ‘OK, here are the requirements of the permit and here is how long it’s going to take to move the project forward,’” Espinoza added.

Officials from Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office have said they are aware of the situation, and realize the importance of getting the gas piping installed on the site.

“Castaic High School is an important addition to the Castaic community and an important project for the county,” said Stephanie English, Barger’s field deputy for the Santa Clarita Valley. “The supervisor has placed the highest priority to ensure that Castaic High School opens as scheduled and directed county staff to ensure that permitting and other county approvals are processed as efficiently as possible. We stand poised to expedite and to assist our utility partners in any way can.”

“I don’t have all the details to what utilities are in or how far along they are,” said Joe Messina,  a Hart District governing board member. “But I’ve been told we’re opening Aug. 13, and I plan to be there to welcome the new students.”

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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