The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board approved on Wednesday spending more than $4.7 million on turf replacement at Canyon High School and permanent light fixtures at five high school athletic fields.
Both projects would be funded by the special reserve fund for capital outlay projects.
The turf replacement is a necessity, according to Michael Otavka, director of facilities, planning and construction for the district, because it has reached its 10-year life cycle and the heavy usage that the field saw while Valencia High School’s turf was being replaced at the beginning of the fall semester.
The purchase and installation of the turf will cost approximately $773,000.
“I’m glad we’re doing this,” said board member Cherise Moore, who represents Trustee Area No. 3. “I know that this was something that I had hoped we could do because of the way that we had to use the field last fall.”
The turf is set to be purchased from the same company that the new Valencia field turf came from, but the installation will be done by AFE Sports rather than by the manufacturer, as was the case at Valencia. The installation at Valencia was pushed back numerous times in the fall, leaving Valencia athletic teams without a full field to practice on.
Board member Erin Wilson, who represents Trustee Area No. 4, questioned if using a different installer would ensure the project is completed on time. Otavka replied saying that the manufacturer of the turf had staffing problems, which led to Valencia’s replacement being delayed, but that AFE Sports does not have that same problem.
Otavka added that the project is scheduled to begin on May 13 and would be finished in four to five weeks.
The larger capital project is the installation of permanent lights at the five high school fields that do not yet have them. Canyon and Valencia high schools have both had lights and host football games and other nighttime activities for the Hart district, along with College of the Canyons’ Cougar Stadium.
The reason for the lights being installed is the implementation of Senate Bill 328, which requires school districts to have high schools begin their school days no earlier than 8:30 a.m. This would require a later end time, therefore leading to after-school activities, including sporting events, to take place at later times.
Castaic High School, West Ranch High School, Hart High School, Saugus High School and Golden Valley High School would all get lights, with the district paying just under $4 million for the construction and installation at all five schools.
The total cost of the project, including engineering work, inspection and consulting fees and contingencies, is $6 million, according to Otavka, who added that the previous estimate for the project was $7.5 million.
The plan required an environmental mitigation report, which noted that the project is required to mitigate or avoid significant environmental effects. That plan was also approved by the board.
Otavka said the project still needs to be approved by the Division of the State Architect, but that prior approval by the board would help to streamline the process. He added that the fabrication would take anywhere between eight to 12 weeks, followed by installation.
The hope, he said, is to have the lights installed by the end of summer so that the fields can be used starting next fall.