High school district gets water for Latrobe site
“It takes a long time to build a high school,” said William Wright, speaking as attorney for the El Dorado Union High School District, to the Local Agency Formation Commission Oct. 27. “The state process is very lengthy. The district is being pro-active, trying to get ahead of development.”
El Dorado Union High School District requested approval from LAFCO of annexation to El Dorado Irrigation District of 215 acres west of Latrobe Road at Wetsel-Oviatt Road, south of the El Dorado Hills Business Park.
Sixty-five acres are designated for a high school that will serve 1,500 to 2,200 students, mostly coming from Valley View and Deer Creek Estates. Around 175 staff members will work at the high school. No plans have been proposed for the remaining 150 acres.
The district purchased the land in 2002 and has been preparing for a new high school there since that time. The schedule projects construction beginning in late spring or summer of 2015 for a projected opening in the 2018-2019 school year.
The conceptual site plan calls for classroom buildings, administrative and counseling buildings, a theater, kitchen/cafeteria/multi-purpose facilities, a gymnasium and a media/library center. The plan includes a 1,500-seat stadium, athletic fields, tennis/basketball hardcourt areas, pool and pool facilities, parking spaces, bus loading areas, service roads and maintenance/warehouse facilities.
A separate parcel, a 3,000-foot section of Wetsel-Oviatt Road owned by El Dorado Investment Co., bisects the larger parcel. The landowner consented to inclusion of this parcel in the request for annexation. The district has negotiated with El Dorado Investment to relocate Wetsel-Oviatt Road, which provides the primary access to the old lumber mill.
Annexation into EID gives the district access to water, wastewater, recycled water and fire hydrant services for the properties. The site is within EID’s sphere of influence and is contiguous to the existing boundary.
The district prepared an environmental impact report of the proposed high school site. The district further prepared a mitigated negative declaration of the 150 acres remaining plus the roadway parcel, based on the highest density currently zoned in the area, which is RE-10. LAFCO staff deemed the documents to be adequate.
LAFCO staff found, “The new high school is necessary to accommodate existing overcrowding and future residential growth in the school district.”
To meet El Dorado Hills Fire Department standards, the district will be required to upsize approximately 7,200 feet of 6- and 8-inch water lines to 12-inch.
EID will require the district to submit a facility plan report to identify alternatives for how sewage from the high school facilities will be transmitted to the El Dorado Hills Wastewater Treatment Plant located approximately 4,600 feet northwest of the site.
The high school facility is identified as being within an area that is subject to EID’s mandatory recycled water use. Availability of recycled water will be determined by EID.
The main issue for the LAFCO commissioners was the connection to park and recreation services. Currently, the services are provided by El Dorado County’s Ponderosa Recreation Zone. The site is within the 20-year sphere of influence for the El Dorado Hills Community Services District.
In the district’s written response, Facilities Director Patty McClellan stated that the district “saw no foreseeable need to annex into the [El Dorado Hills] CSD,” unless the district was interested in maintaining and/or utilizing the remainder of the parcel.
Staff found, “The proposed high school will add additional recreational opportunities for the community in the form of additional playing fields, hard court areas and playground equipment.”
Commissioner Norm Rowett questioned Wright about connecting the high school site to the El Dorado Hills CSD. Wright responded the high school district has no objection, but is not actively seeking a change to the CSD. He stated the CSD had given verbal information that it is not interested. “It’s the CSD’s decision not to pursue annexation,” he said.
By a unanimous vote, the commissioners approved adoption of the environmental review and approval of the annexation.