Hart district to move forward with lighting practice fields


District staff begins initial steps for an approximately $7.5 million project, board approves actions for junior high projects

The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board voted 4-0 Wednesday to approve fee proposals from three companies to begin the initial steps for an approximately $7.5 million field lighting project, which will encompass five school sites.  

Michael Otavka, director of facilities, planning and construction, presented this action item to members of the board. According to Otavka, before the district can begin purchasing and setting up the lights, the district will need the plans approved by the Division of the State Architect, under the California Department of General Services. 

“This project will only add lights to the fields. However, the lights that will be installed to the five schools are the same ones that are being used at Valencia and Canyon high schools,” Otavaka said. “DSA-approved plans will be needed in order for the district to move forward with this project.” 

The fee proposal was approved unanimously, with board member James Webb absent. 

The three companies will each provide services in three different areas. Studio Plus will serve as the architect and will cost approximately $166,802; Meridian will serve as the environmental consultant and will cost $39,900; and lastly, Ninyo & Moore will provide geotech services for the project and cost $86,090. 

“The plans themselves would be Studio Plus, so that’s $166,000 for all five schools,” Otavka said. “Meridian is the environmental consultant as we have to do an environmental document for each of these because we’re putting lights in. We’re affecting the neighborhood, there’s noise involved [etc.]” 

“We’re going to be required to do soil tests at each of the fields because we’re sinking those posts with foundations. Those posts are 40 to 50 feet tall and they need a pretty stout foundation that goes in each of those.” 

According to Otavka, the fee proposals will allow staff to begin designing the field lights project at the five schools — Castaic, Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus and West Ranch.  

The Hart district has seven high schools, each one with an artificial turf field that is used for various sports and other programs such as football, soccer, lacrosse and band practice. The fields at Canyon and Valencia high schools are used as district stadiums along with the College of the Canyons stadium.  

These fields are the only lighted fields district athletes have access to, according to the staff report. In addition, in the last few years, there has been an increased need for practice field space, Otavka said.  

Also, the change to a later school start time, as directed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, has necessitated the need for schools to move practice to a later time in the afternoon and evening, he added.  

The district has tried to mitigate the need for field space by renting portable lights. However, this has had limited success as lighting is difficult to obtain, costly, and does not always provide adequate lighting for athletes, the staff report reads. 

“I think this is a great move for the district,” said Bob Jensen, Trustee Area No. 2 representative. “I really commend us for making this move and getting these permanent, high-quality light fixtures, and their structures in place.” 

Cherise Moore, Trustee Area No. 3 representative, asked why not convert these fields into stadiums — on behalf of her constituents, who asked her the same question. 

According to Otavka, stadiums would just cost more. One stadium would cost approximately between $13 and $15 million, he said. 

The DSA’s requirements are also “very strict,” he added, for bleachers, foundations for the bleachers, press box, accessibility requirements, concession buildings and additional utilities that to go into a stadium. 

The fee proposals, a total of $292,792, will be funded from the Special Reserve Fund for Capital Outlay Projects, fund 40.3, according to Otavka. Fund 40.3 would most likely support the entirety of the project, he added.  

Junior high school projects 

In addition, board members approved two other actions for projects at La Mesa and Sierra Vista junior high schools, respectively. 

The board voted 4-0 to award a $31,138 contract to Champion Construction, the lowest quote, for the conversion of four workrooms to counselor offices at Le Mesa Junior High School. The project will create offices for counselors, so they may conduct one-on-one meetings with students and provide mental health services. 

The board also voted 4-0 to approve a fee amendment from Linik Corp. for the Sierra Vista Junior High School Multi-Purpose Building and Kitchen Modernization Project. The original proposal was $504,360; however, it was changed to $607,308 after pre-construction work indicated the design period would run longer than anticipated, according to the staff report. 

This will be an additional $102,948 to the project.  

“Linik has determined that the schedule for the project would have to extend six months beyond the original estimate of 18 months due to a much longer and involved period to plan and design the temporary food service facility,” reads the district report. 

It’s a more complicated project than anticipated, Otavka said.  

“There’s a lot for the architect and construction manager to create a better, more accurate set of bid documents, which has the potential to save dollars and reduce the cost of future changeovers during construction.” 

Both projects are supported through Fund 25.0, Capital Facilities Fund, according to district staff. 


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