In 2011, IUSD reached an agreement with the Irvine City Council that gave the district 40 acres to build a fifth high school by September 2016. This site, located northeast of the Great Park, is referred to by the city council as Site A. However, the Irvine City Council proposed the idea to relocate the high school project to Site B, which is also 40 acres. Site B is located on the west side of the Great Park.
Site A was questioned for its proximity to the James Musick Facility, a minimum security jail on Alton Parkway. Changing from Site A to Site B at this point, however, would increase the cost of the project by approximately $20 million and would also push the opening of the high school to 2017.
Superintendent Terry Walker said that the budget for the project is approximately $140 million, excluding the athletic stadium or aquatic complex. He said, “The District is currently experiencing unprecedented growth and future enrollment projections indicate the need to open the fifth high school in the fall of 2016. If enrollment projections materialize and the school is delayed beyond 2016, existing high school campuses may become overcrowded, which may negatively impact programs throughout the District.”
Projections show that without a fifth high school by 2016, Northwood High School’s population would grow to 2,932 students, Irvine High’s to 2,556 students, Woodbridge High’s to 2,674 students and University High’s to 2,867 students.
According to IUSD Newsflash, Cassie Parham, the Assistant Superintendent, said, “Schools of this size, coupled with the limitations of current facilities, will make it harder for students to participate in co-curricular activities, including music and the arts. Irvine is unique in that 70 percent of its students are currently enrolled in at least one visual or performing arts course.”
Written by PASCAL BOCTOR