Projects like Castaic High School in the William S. Hart Union High School District don’t come around every year and it reinforces why we do what we do.
After 3 years of Kemp’s involvement on the project, and many more years before that, the high school doors opened August 13 to welcome the inaugural freshman class. The 330 students will be the first ever graduates of the school in 2023.
This $128 million project is the largest new high school project Kemp has completed to date. Here are a few of the details:
- 256,230 square feet in total
- 11 new buildings
- Built on a 58 acre campus
Set up for success right from the start, Castaic High School has state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities to give students a head start on their future. With an anticipated capacity of 2,600 students, each new year will welcome another freshman class.
The buildings include:
- A 400-seat performing arts center
- 5 classroom buildings
- An administration building
- A full-service food preparation facility
- A maintenance and operations building
- A multi-court gymnasium
- A ¼ mile running track with synthetic surface
- Natural turf soccer and lacrosse fields
- Next-generation synthetic turf football field
- A varsity and junior varsity baseball field
- A varsity and junior varsity softball field
- Outdoor basketball and tennis courts
Castaic High School will emphasize career technical education and allow students to earn college credits as early as their freshman year through the local community college, College of the Canyons. There’s also a dedicated modular Career Technical Education building to meet the needs of the program.
The initial earthwork of the project commenced in a fairly remote and largely unimproved location in Romero Canyon. After the site was leveled and basic off-site infrastructure was installed, the campus was graded and prepared for new construction. The general contractor on the project, Castaic High School Construction, engaged Kemp to assist in ensuring project coordination, management and field construction completion.
Building new, prevailing wage regulated public school projects, involving Division of the State Architect (DSA) inspections and worker compliance administration, requires specialized construction experience and reporting systems. Kemp’s unique school building qualifications, established over the past 80+ years, appealed to the project developer/general contractor who essentially hired Kemp’s construction management team to help turn the approved High School project plans into an occupiable reality.
Kemp’s provision of CM services included:
- Preconstruction estimating and competitive bidding
- Schedule development, review and analysis
- Construction sequencing and logistics coordination
- Implementation of cost control measures
- Field production management and direction
With proven experience of DSA and other public works projects, Kemp brought unique and considerable expertise to the project. We were able to coordinate and lead our project subcontractors down the right pathways, anticipating the regulatory inspections associated with proper completion of their work. DSA inspection processes can often take 24–48 hours to complete and staying on schedule requires informed production planning. Kemp’s attention to detail, and our knowledge and experience processing all the necessary paperwork and documentation, helped us deliver value to our client and the project.
While Castaic made for a beautiful construction site (and, eventually, a picturesque high school), the conditions were less than ideal for such a project. With limited electrical power or water utilities, intermittent cellular phone / wireless service and unimproved access roads (at project start), the Kemp team scrambled for creative solutions to push the project forward as unhindered. To complete the project by the (very) fixed deadline of the new school year, the team resourcefully brought in generators, water trucks and any other temporary mechanical equipment needed to get the job done. All credit goes to the unwavering commitment of our assigned project team…
Instead of asking ‘How can we possibly work like this?’ they asked ‘How can we possibly make this work?’
— Mark Rettig, Vice President Kemp Bros.
Even before Kemp joined the new high school effort, the project was already years in the making. Here’s a quick timeline of the events.
2001: Measure V passed, kickstarting the Castaic High School development process and allocating a portion of the $158 million bond to the search for locations.
2008: After the first bond measure failed to move the project forward, another $300 million bond measure passed, citing a Castaic area high school as a top priority.
2010: The Romero Canyon site was selected to become the future location of Castaic High School.
2013: The name Castaic High School was selected and approved by School Board members and Community members held a groundbreaking ceremony.
2016: Contracts were approved to begin school building construction.
Feb 2017: Kemp was brought on board to provide project Construction Management services.
Aug 2019: School Board and Community members cut the ribbon opening the High School.
Aug 13 2019: Castaic High School welcomed its first freshman class of students!
*Dates sourced from the Santa Clarita Valley Signal
At the ribbon cutting ceremony over the summer, Superintendent Vicki Engbrect said,
“Over 10 years of dreaming, planning and problem-solving have resulted in what surely will be one of the premier high schools in the entire state of California."