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Could Castaic High School Get a Second Access Road?

Could+Castaic+High+School+Get+a+Second+Access+Road%3F

As Castaic High School zips past the first official month of the 2023-2024 school year, some students and parents have raised concerns about the limited access to roads up to campus, thus sparking a conversation of a second access road up through Valley Creek Road. The current and only route has raised concerns about traffic and any sort of danger to campus, such as a wildfire. 

At the moment, Castaic High School sits at a little over 1200 students with only one access road in and out through Sloan Canyon Road. Some students have expressed displeasure with the fact that traffic can move slow in the mornings up to school and down the hill in the afternoons.

“Traffic can be very rough up here,” said James Lafferty, a junior here at Castaic high school.  “Trying to get up to school on a one-lane road with roughly 1200 other people is very time-consuming. It can be very frustrating.” 

Some have also raised the question about what everyone would do if there were to be a wildfire at or around Castaic High School with only one road in and out of school, especially since drier weather is expected to occur in October. Principal Ferry wants parents and students to know that if this were the case, the school would make sure that they would have everything covered.

“When I became principal here in my first week, I met with the Fire Department Station 149, California Highway Patrol (better known as CHP), and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and we walked through the school. I came out of that meeting feeling very comfortable with the position that we’re in up here,” Ferry said.

“I know visually we don’t seem safe, but we have such a buffer between the hillsides and our concrete buildings,” Principal Ferry added. “They also have ventilation systems in them where they can’t take in any smoke. If we had a fire on the hillside, we are ordered to keep students in the classroom because it’s safest. CHP would also close down Sloan Canyon Road at the bottom of the hill by Parker. We know parents will naturally want to pick up their kids, but our school will basically become a command center. CHP would want to minimize as much traffic as possible from the command center.  We have already rehearsed with transportation. We’ll bring buses up to the school in the event of a fire, and we’ll transport students to West Ranch High School to be picked up.”

Even though some have said a second access road through Valley Creek Road would help reduce traffic on Sloan Canyon, there have also been others who resent the chance of there being a road that would destroy the natural environment around it.

“Hearing about a new access road on Valley Creek is unfortunate for many of the residents that live around here,” noted Tyler Hawn, a senior on Castaic’s baseball team. “I personally know I’ve spent a lot of time riding bikes and walking my dog back there on the road. And with that access road will take away from the beautiful nature that we have back there because of the constant traffic.”

The blueprints for the road are being drawn up, but it still sounds like it’s going to be quite a while before Castaic High School sees a second access route up to school.

“Right now, [the William S. Hart School District has] a company coming out to look at the engineering and what that will intel and do blueprints for it. But, that is only the process for the discovery mode of what it will take to build it,” Principal Ferry stated. “There’s a population threshold of 1600 students that the school must meet prior to construction of another road.” 

It’s not certain when Castaic High School will hit the target, but it is estimated that it’ll take quite a few more years.

“It’s a pretty big jump adding 400 students. It’s going to be a while. Over the years, I think we’re going to see more development north of our school, and I think that’ll increase enrollment,” Principal Ferry said. “I’ve also been working with the Castaic elementary schools and they’re seeing increases in their third and fourth grade populations. That means we’ll see an increase here at Castaic long-term. I know people want [the road] now, but my guess is that it’s going to be years away.” 

 

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About the Contributor
Jack Teoli
Jack Teoli, Staff Writer
Jack Teoli is a staff writer for Castaic high school’s newspaper, the Daily Howl. This is his first year with journalism and he is very excited to be a part of the team. With strong interests in current events that revolve around government and economics, his goal is to produce informative articles that will give students at Castaic a better understanding about what’s going on outside of school and what effects it has on them. Though he doesn’t know what he wants to do for a living yet, he knows he’s passionate in areas that involve speaking, law, and writing. In his free time, he likes to surf, listen to music, and play the guitar.
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  • D

    Denise M.Oct 13, 2023 at 10:18 am

    As part of the “evacuation plan” it’s stated that the plan is to lockdown the kids in the high school and the CHP will block traffic at Sloan and Parker. How about the homes on Sloan and the Encore/Bravo homes at Quail Valley? Are we to be trapped in our homes with no exit?? I’d love to hear your plans for us. You obviously have never been through a wildfire emergency here.

    Reply
  • A

    AaronSep 18, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    As i been saying this was poor planning,how good ole boy network let pass opening sch. only 1 road in& out.Ask yourself how was this?&If an
    earthquake,fire or flash flood this is an disaster waiting to happen.

    Reply