Future High School Status Update
October 15, 2019
Dear DUSD Community,
While we have not yet broken ground at the site of our future high school, plenty has happened and we are excited to communicate our progress. Over two dozen planning meetings with students, staff, the City, and our community have taken place over the last 12 months and input from these meetings has resulted in the development of an educational specification and design of the school. The eminent domain process has been moving forward and should be resolved by the end of the year.
We know that the timeline for our new school is not the one the community had hoped for and we’d like to thank you for your patience and trust in our District to see this project through completion. Our new school will mean a lot to our community and we are looking forward to the Fall of 2022 when our first set of students are able to step foot onto their new campus.
The process of building a comprehensive high school is incredibly complicated and sometimes understanding all of the pieces can be frustrating. It’s our goal to continue to work on our transparency with you and provide as much information as it becomes available.
Overview of our New Comprehensive High School
This new 24-acre campus will be located on the corner of Central Parkway and Chancery Lane in Dublin. It will accommodate approximately 2,500 students and be built in two phases:
Estimated Opening: Fall 2022
Number of Students: 1,308
Features: Administration Building, Student Union, Kitchen, Library, Gymnasium, Locker Room, Academy 1, Visual and Performing Arts Classrooms (VAPA), All-Weather Track and Synthetic Field, Four Overhead Field Lights, Eight Tennis Courts, Approximately 500 parking spaces
Estimated Opening: To be determined
Number of Students: The remaining 1,237
Features: Academy 2, Theatre, Bleachers, VAPA Classrooms, Basement, Concessions, Pressbox, Aquatic Complex, Maintenance Building
Phase One of our comprehensive high school will cost approximately $166.6 million. Of that amount, $135 million will be funded by Measure H, which stated it would allow our District to “construct initial phase(s) of new high school and all related improvements.” The remaining $31 million will be funded through various sources, including state reimbursement due from the construction of J.M. Amador Elementary School, existing developer fees, and developer fees received if the AT Dublin project is approved.
Phase Two will cost approximately $102.2 million and is expected to be funded by a future bond measure supporting the completion of the future high school and other facility needs.
Understanding the Eminent Domain Process
The District is acquiring the property for the future high school under the eminent domain process. Simply put, the government has the right to file a lawsuit to acquire private property for public use, so long as it pays just compensation or fair market value, even if the seller is not a willing participant.
In the Fall of 2018, the District made an offer to purchase the property from its current owner but was not able to reach an agreement on price. As such, District staff recommended the Board authorize and direct the acquisition of the property via eminent domain. The District filed its eminent domain lawsuit in October 2018. In the February 26, 2019 Board meeting, legal counsel confirmed that, per statute, a trial date would likely not be set until approximately a year after the lawsuit commenced, meaning that if the parties could not negotiate a resolution through the eminent domain litigation process, a trial would not happen until after October 2019 or later.
The property owner is not disputing the District’s right to purchase the property for use as the high school and is instead disputing the amount of compensation they should receive.
The District and the property owner have engaged in one round of mediation regarding the purchase price and have a settlement conference coming up on November 14, 2019. If the parties are unable to agree on a purchase price, the matter is scheduled to go to trial on December 9, 2019, where a jury will determine the property value and the lawsuit will be resolved.
In short, the process of acquiring the land is nearing completion. It has never been a question of “if” we can acquire the land via eminent domain, rather “when.”
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
CEQA is the state’s primary environmental law that requires public agencies to disclose impacts of their projects that may have a physical effect on the environment. Through this process, they can identify ways to avoid or reduce potential impacts through mitigation measures or alternatives. The creation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is part of the CEQA process.
What is an Environmental Impact Report (EIR)?
An EIR is an informational document that does not approve or deny a project. Rather, it discloses information about the effects a proposed project could have on the environment. It also identifies mitigation measures and describes feasible alternatives to the proposed project to avoid or reduce identified impacts. An EIR must be certified by the District prior to project approval.
Before an EIR is prepared, the District is required to prepare and publish a Notice of Preparation of EIR (NOP). The NOP is intended to provide certain governmental agencies and interested individuals with information describing the project and the project’s potential environmental effects and to allow those agencies and individuals an opportunity to comment on the proposed scope and content of the EIR. We prepared and published a NOP for the project on September 30, 2019, which can be accessed through the following web address: http://bit.ly/New-HS-DEIR
Can I provide my own comments during the EIR/CEQA Process?
During the EIR/CEQA process, the public is welcome to submit comments that focus on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed new project. Currently, the public may submit comments on the proposed scope and content of the future draft EIR, as described in the NOP. A public scoping meeting was held for this purpose by the District on October 10, 2019, at Fallon Middle School. All feedback is due by October 30, 2019, at 5:00 pm and can be submitted in one of two ways:
Chris Stevens, Chief Facilities Operations Officer
Dublin Unified School District
7471 Larkdale Avenue, Dublin, CA 94568
Subject Line: “Future DUSD Comprehensive High School Project EIR”
What are the next steps in the EIR process after the 30-Day NOP Public Comment period?
After the NOP public comment period ends, we will prepare and publish a draft EIR for public review and comment. The public will then have a period of 45 days during which to comment on the significant environmental issues posed by the project and the draft EIR’s coverage of the same. During this time, we will also hold a public hearing on the draft EIR.
Once the 45 day comment period is completed, we will create a final EIR that will include all comments on the draft EIR and responses. When the final EIR is ready, the District will hold another hearing where the public will have the opportunity to once again provide feedback. Once this process is complete, the Board of Trustees will consider certifying the EIR, after which it will decide whether to approve the project as described in the EIR. Following that, the District will be able to move forward with construction.
At our upcoming Board of Trustees Meeting on October 22, 2019, the District will be asking the Board to direct District staff to develop a naming committee for our new comprehensive high school. The naming committee duties include developing recommendations for school colors, logo, mascot, and other branding items. The naming committee then presents the recommendations to the Board of Trustees to make the ultimate decisions for the school.
Current Construction Vehicles on Property
We’d like to clarify that there is a perception that work has begun on the property where our new comprehensive high school will be located because some community members have witnessed construction vehicles moving on and off the property. We’d like to let you know that these are not involved with the development of our future high school and are simply parked there as part of an agreement between the current property owner and a third-party.
FLY-THROUGH VIDEO AND RENDERINGS
The District has a site providing future high school project updates. We invite you to visit the link and be one of the first to view our new fly-through video of the site and renderings that provide a detailed view of our next high school.
For more details on our new school, please visit us at dublinusd.org and click on “Future High School Updates.” We appreciate your input and will continue to keep you informed as we progress on this important project.
Please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions or comments.
Dave Marken, Ed. D.
Dublin Unified School