Hart district to look at big purchases for field upgrades 

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office
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New lights at five high school fields, new turf at Canyon High would cost more than $4.5 million 

The William S. Hart Union High School District is looking to spend millions on adding lights to the five high school fields that do not yet have them. 

The Hart district governing board is scheduled to vote at Wednesday’s meeting on purchasing and installing five sets of LED lights, the same type of lighting system that is currently in place at both Valencia and Canyon high schools, for a total of nearly $4 million, according to the district agenda posted to its website. 

Lights aren’t the only field upgrade set to be considered by the board on Wednesday. Canyon High School is also in need of turf replacement as the current turf has been in use since 2014, according to the agenda. The estimated cost for this project would be more than $773,000. 

Both projects would be funded by the district’s special reserve fund for capital outlay projects, according to the agenda. 

With the lights, the football fields at Hart High School, West Ranch High School, Golden Valley High School, Castaic High School and Saugus High School could be used at later times than normal after Senate Bill 328, authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-Burbank, made it a requirement for high schools to start the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m. This later start time would indicate that school days will also be ending later. 

“In turn, a later school end time will affect sports activities, which must also start and end at later times,” the Hart district agenda reads. 

SB 328 was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October 2019 and was supposed to be implemented by school districts by July 1, 2022, or the date on which a district’s collective bargaining agreement expired, whichever came later. 

The five fields without permanent lights are currently being lit with portable lights powered by generators. The average cost for the lighting project, set to be completed by Musco Sports Lighting, is just under $800,000 per field. Saugus has the highest estimated cost at just over $1 million, while Castaic High School would be the cheapest at just over $677,000. 

The lighting project was analyzed by the district’s environment consultant, “which demonstrated that the project may have potentially significant effects on the environment, but stated that such effects could be mitigated to a point where clearly no significant environmental effects would occur,” according to the resolution. 

The turf replacement at Canyon, set to be completed by AFE Sports, also calls for Zeolite Cooling Infill to be installed. The Zeofill website says that the addition “reduces odors and cools surface temperature by up to 30% for synthetic turf, sports fields and playgrounds.” 

Artificial turf is meant to replaced every eight to 10 years, the agenda states, adding that “since Canyon High School is a home stadium for Canyon High School, Golden Valley High School and sometimes other high schools in the district, this field gets more use than a normal practice field.  Replacing the artificial turf is necessary to ensure a safe and optimal playing surface for students and athletes.” 

The Hart High School softball field is also scheduled for some renovations, and the cost for testing and inspections is set to go up. Ninyo & Moore, a geotechnical and environmental sciences consulting company, initially provided the district with a total cost of $30,000 for inspection services but is asking the district to update the budget by $18,300 for a new total of $48,300, according to a letter sent by the company to the district. 

The board is set to vote on the updated budget for that project on Wednesday. 

A fiscal stabilization plan is also set to be voted on by the board. On the back of an “extraordinary shortfall” in state funding and an increase in expenditures by the district, a plan was created that would see the district save nearly $43 million and bring in an additional $3.12 million.

The specifics of the plan call for: more than $3 million in income through new leases and renegotiations, as well as updating civic center fees “to more closely reflect actual cost;” more than $21 million saved through layoffs and not filling otherwise open positions; more than $10 million saved in reductions in general fund expenditures; approximately $2.7 million saved via transferring funds between different budgets; and more than $8 million saved through the reduction of programs. 

Related to the district’s budget is a vote to approve an agreement for flat-rate legal services provided by Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost, which would save the district more than $1.5 million per year, according to the agenda. 

The district could also be receiving nearly $13 million in funding through Assembly Bill 181. That bill allocates funding for school districts on a one-time basis to: 

  • Obtain standards-aligned professional development and acquire instructional materials. 
  • Obtain instructional materials and professional development aligned to best practices for improving school climate, including training on de-escalation and restorative justice strategies, digital literacy, physical education, and learning through play. 
  • Develop diverse book collections and obtain culturally relevant texts, including leveled texts, in both English and pupils’ home languages, to support pupils’ independent reading. 
  • Operational costs, including but not limited to, retirement and health care cost increases. 
  • As related to the COVID-19 pandemic, acquire personal protective equipment, masks, cleaning supplies, COVID-19 tests, ventilation upgrades, and other similar expenditures. 

The recommendation included with the agenda is for the board to approve that item. 

The Hart district board meeting is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the district office, located at 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway. 

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