Gas permits expedited, officials believe they’ll meet Castaic High School deadline

Construction continues on the performing arts building, left, and the campus of Castaic High School in Castaic on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Officials working on the construction of Castaic High School believe they’ll be able to meet the deadline to open the school, just days after it was revealed the school site was without gas piping and hookups weeks before opening.

Stephanie English, the Santa Clarita Valley field deputy for 5th District County Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office, said county officials had received the proper documentation from Southern California Gas Co. early Monday morning.

“Our office held a conference call with all the players, the gas company, the Hart District and our office,” said English. “The update is the gas company got the required documentation this morning, and we immediately issued the permit.”

English said the county would not issue the permit unless the contractor added L.A. County to the insurance plan, which it had not done on the paperwork the gas company submitted Thursday.

“Our insurance requirement for permits (all projects, not just the gas company) requires the contractor to provide $2 million aggregate general liability coverage and an additional insured endorsement,” said English. “The additional insured endorsement was provided to us this morning. We were then free to issue the permit, which we did.”

Randy Wrage, the project manager for Castaic High School, confirmed that the permit to start construction on the gas lines had been received by the gas company and that he and gas company officials plan to meet on the site Tuesday to start mapping out the project.

“There’s about three weeks of work,” said Wrage.

Marisol Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the Southern California Gas Co., said Monday that as long as all the steps have occurred as planned, the gas services should be installed by Aug. 1.

“The developer is going to be working with us to provide the trench, the house-line release and certain responsibilities on their end so that when we are ready to go with laying down the pipe,  the trench will be ready,” said Espinoza.

Gas company officials said the Aug. 1 deadline includes tests and having everything operational.

“The county had requested additional information, which we submitted on Thursday,” said Espinoza. “They (the county) requested additional information (Monday) morning.”

“We’re committed to moving forward and working with the county and all the entities to get this moving before Aug. 1,” said Espinoza, who declined to answer on whether installing gas lines at this stage of the project is a regular practice. “Every project is different.”

In a statement issued by the district on Monday, the district alluded to media reports indicating a delay in the opening of the school, and then saying they wanted to assure parents the school would be ready on Aug. 13 to open.

“We have no reason to believe there will be any delays,” the statement said. “We are excited for the opening of the school …  and for the beginning of a new chapter in your student’s academic career.”

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