First two-story classroom buildings at Hart High under construction, open in January

Construction continues at Hart High School in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Although it is the first school to have been built within the William S. Hart Union High School District, one-story classroom buildings and portables have been the tentpole infrastructure of the Hart High School campus.

That is until January 2020, when the newest addition at the school — twin two-story buildings that will house 22 classrooms — open up at the school.

The concept design for the new classrooms includes 22 classrooms in two, two-story buildings with a courtyard. Photo courtesy of the Hart District.

“One of the reasons for the construction project has been that the district has been looking at replacing or removing the portables at the district campuses and replacing them with permanent classroom space,” said Michael Otavka, director of facilities, planning and construction for the district. “A lot of portable classrooms are approaching 30 years old and the end of their usable life.”

According to Collyn Nielsen, the chief administrative officer for the district, the new buildings are being created out of 12- by 40-foot modular units, and were eight years in the making.

This particular project, which involves the usage of cranes to bring in the factory-built modular units, will be located at the back end of the school, close to the upper and softball fields. In addition to the buildings, two new tennis courts will be added and all will be repaved, Nielsen said.

In June, a crane lowers down one of the modules being used for the new classrooms located on Hart’s campus. Photo courtesy of the Hart District.

The building will be located on the backend of the campus and allow for two new tennis courts to be added to the campus. Photo courtesy of the Hart district.

“There are going to be two buildings with a center courtyard,” said Nielsen. “The building closest to the tennis courts, we’re calling that the north wing, and there’s a south wing. Each of them are two stories with 11 classrooms.”

Including the stairs, elevators and equipment rooms in the new facilities, there will be 23,000 square feet of permanent classroom space, a maximum of 792 students will be able to fit into the classrooms, and will increase the number of classroom spaces on Hart’s campus by seven to nine classrooms, according to Otavka.

The entire project, which is scheduled to be opened for the second semester of the upcoming school year, cost $18.5 million, according to district officials. The project is being funded by Measure SA, a $300 million school facilities general obligation bond voters approved in November 2008 for the construction of new school facilities and the improvement of existing facilities.

In addition to the new classrooms, there is a scheduled $6.3 million in infrastructure improvements coming to Hart school grounds over the summer, which include water, electrical, gas and irrigation and an electronic marquee at the front of the school. An overhead walkway was also removed between the small gym and a classroom building so firefighters and emergency crews can travel unimpeded from one side of the campus to the other.

Construction continues at Hart High School in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

Construction continues at Hart High School in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal

“A few years back we had a transformer catch fire … and now we basically have all new electrical equipment that powers that campus,” Otavka said, adding that the improvements were needed for a campus that was built in the 1940s.

“The school has been powered back up, and we’re going full-bore again,” said Nielsen.

The new repairs are expected to last for the next 30 to 40 years, according to Otavka, and cost approximately $6.3 million in infrastructure, totaling $25 million in improvements to Hart High School since spring of this year.

“On the horizon, we have modernization projects coming up for Valencia High School, La Mesa Junior High School and Bowman High School that are going to be dependent upon state funds,” said Nielsen, adding that those plans are still being conceptualized and have not received a definitive timeline as of yet.

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