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June 2016 THE Reader • 5

Castaic High School project continues moving ahead

By Josh Premako

For the Reader

Castaic continues moving closer to finally

having its own high school, with

construction expected to begin this


While the William S. Hart Union High

School District is still deciding on the delivery

method for construction of the longawaited

Castaic-area high school, the

construction manager expects work to begin

very soon.

Valencia-based Lundgren Management,

which has been working with the district on

general oversight of site development, was

selected last month as the construction manager

for the project. Shawn Fonder, Lundgren’s

vice president of program and client

services, said Lundgren’s involvement will

stretch over a total of 34 months. That includes

three months of pre-construction

services, 28 months of construction-related

service, and three months of project closeout.

Among Lundgren’s duties, he said, will

be to ensure a streamlined construction


At its May 4 meeting, the Hart district’s

governing board examined three possible delivery

methods for construction of the Castaic-area

high school, which is being funded

by Measure SA, a $300 million bond voters

approved in 2008. While the school was initially

slated to open to students in 2015, that

opening date has been pushed back. Students

will come primarily from Castaic Middle

School, which currently feeds West Ranch

and Valencia high schools.

Currently, all grading and drainage for the

site is essentially complete and the access

roads are under construction, said developer

Larry Rasmussen, of Romero Canyon LLC.

The access road required 900,000 cubic

yards of grading, over hilly terrain, to reach

the 58-acre location of the future campus,

which is part of a 198-acre total project.

“You won’t see buildings going up (this

summer), but there will be a lot of work going

on,” he said.

Fonder added that the site’s storm drain

system is substantially complete, on- and offsite

slope stabilization is nearly complete, installation

of the site’s water tank will be

completed by late summer and the primary

access and utilities are 80 percent complete.

Key to the process of moving this type of

project forward, Rasmussen said, is ensuring

multiple parties’ interests are satisfied. The

client — in this case a school district — wants

to be sure they are receiving a quality product;

multiple government agencies need to

have regulations met; environmental concerns

need to be addressed; and ultimately

the developer also needs to ensure they are


During last month’s meeting, the Hart district

board focused on three possible delivery

methods for the project.

CM Multiple Prime: The project scopes and

schedule are developed and controlled by the

construction manager, and all prime contracts

are held by the district;

Design-Bid-Build: A more traditional

model using a general contractor;

Developer-Built: A developer-built

method, which would mean site developer

Romero Canyon LLC would deliver a finished

school to the district.

The district is also conferring with legal

counsel regarding the outcome of current

court cases in California to determine if a

This aerial photo shows the graded project site for the Castaic high school being built by the William S. Hart Union High School District.

fourth method to consider will be leaseleaseback,

which has been a popular delivery

method for California school construction.

Under lease-leaseback, a school district

procures property and leases the project site

to a developer who provides a guaranteed

maximum price. When the construction is

complete, the district then leases the site

from the developer and at the end of the lease

owns the property. Advantages of the method

have included a streamlined process that engages

contractors and architects at early

stages to avoid costly change orders later on.

In a recent statement, Hart district board

president Robert Hall said that once a delivery

method is selected the project timeline

will be much clearer.

When finally complete, the school will

cover a quarter-million square-feet and include

several classroom buildings, a library,

performing arts building, administrative

building and a 5,000-seat stadium plus athletic

courts and fields.

“We all have a common goal, to deliver on

a promise that was made,” Fonder said. “It’s


At this point, there is no front-runner for a

delivery method, district spokesman Dave

Caldwell said. Additionally, while as recently

as last fall district officials said they hoped for

a 2017 opening of the school, and Rasmussen

said he expects project completion by sometime

in 2018, Caldwell said nothing is yet set

in stone.

“No one can anticipate delays or what

types of problems may arise,” he said. “The

objective is to open up for ninth-graders in

the first year and add a year every year thereafter.

What is most important to the Hart district

is to have a school that is safe and

functional for the students and staff.” R

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