ORANGE, CA (September 28, 2018) – Villa Park High School cleared its final hurdle to starting construction on a new, state-of-the-art science center and modernizing other facilities on campus, after the Villa Park City Council and Orange Unified School District (OUSD) Board of Education unanimously approved revised project work plans at their respective meetings this week. The actions of the two elected bodies clear the way for the school to break ground on the project in December, with construction to begin in early 2019.
Officials from OUSD and the City of Villa Park have been working collaboratively to ensure that the final plans for Villa Park High School (VPHS) would meet student and community needs. One of the more significant issues was traffic management, both on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. According to OUSD Board of Trustees Vice President and Villa Park resident Kathy Moffat, the plans that the Board adopted represents months of diligent review, accommodation and cooperation between the school district and the city.
“This high school was built 55 years ago, when traffic and the surrounding community were much different,” said Moffat. “The plans that the Board approved will not only improve traffic flow for Villa Park High School but also for those who pass through on their way to Cerro Villa Middle School, Serrano Elementary, and on their way to work. We have enhanced safety features for drivers and pedestrians alike, that were developed collaboratively between the school district and the city. I am proud to say that our collaboration has resulted in a giant step forward to improve those issues. OUSD is dedicated to public safety and this final plan provides just that.”
In presenting his Staff Report to council members, Villa Park City Manager Steve Franks, said the revised plan, with its improved traffic conditions and safety features, “…doesn’t just mitigate, but actually improves existing conditions. That’s a rarity in these types of projects.”
The science center and other facility improvements at the 55-year-old high school are being funded by the $288 million Measure S school bond that voters within OUSD’s boundaries approved in November 2016. The bond is providing $72 million to each of the school district’s four comprehensive high schools for new science centers and other modernization work. Villa Park High School will be the second high school to break ground this year. Orange High School broke ground in June and work on campus infrastructure and traffic flow improvements began at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
The campus improvements at Villa Park High School will be done in two phases. The first phase will focus on the construction of the two-story, 45,000 square-foot science center, which will replace the existing one-story 300 Building near the northeast corner of the campus. Work will also begin on traffic flow and access point improvements. The science center is slated for completion during Winter 2021. The second phase of the project will then focus on the modernization of existing buildings, including but not limited to interior remodeling, utility upgrades, and the relocation of the staircases for the 100/200 building. Traffic flow and access point improvements will also continue during phase two.
According to Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D., the implementation of Measure S is proceeding on schedule and active construction at all four high school campuses is expected by the end of this school year.
“I could not be more pleased with the progress that OUSD has made rolling out Measure S and beginning work on our high school facility modernization projects,” said Hansen. “This past May, we completed a $188 million bond sale to fund all Phase One projects and began work at Orange High School in June. The Division of State Architect approved our project at Villa Park High School in July. And, this week, our plans for VPHS were endorsed unanimously by both the Villa Park City Council and the OUSD Board of Education with ground breaking anticipated in December. Plans for El Modena and Canyon High School are also on schedule and we anticipate breaking ground in early 2019 and construction to begin by early summer.”
Additional information about Orange Unified School District and Measure S, can be found at www.orangeusd.org/measure-s.