Hacienda La Puente Unified to sell 40 acres at four old schools

The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District listened to three consultants this morning at a special school board meeting at 8 a.m. The local district wants to build a new school at Wedgeworth Elementary to replace the portables that have made the school for more than 40 years.

The board listened to Don Pender from the LPA archtitectural firm in Irvine as he discussed the process for building a new school near Wilson High School. The district has 20 acres of land there and hopes to keep 5 for a new campus.

Pender said the new building would be flexible as well as safe and secure. He stressed the need to work with the community to collaborate on the new school.

He wants parents, staff and community members to help shape the new school. Pender noted the power to shape the outcome decreases greatly as the project progresses, while the cost to change the outcome rises dramatically.

The architect described a 10-week plan that would draw the community together on plans for a new Wedgeworth.  “We need a community outreach meeting to invite everyone to come out,” Pender said.

Jerry Suich from the Oxbridge firm in Hacienda Heights talked about obstacles and concerns for the properties. Suich said the Wedgeworth property had been an orchard once, so they would have to check for residual pesticides.

He noted the plans will have to go through the county planning commission, but is exempt from local zoning laws. Suich said the process would take 9 months to a year, including a public hearing.

Consultant Kathleen McKee talked about the process of disposing of surplus property. Her list included 14 acres at Wedgeworth, 10 at Glenelder, 12 at La Subida, and 5 acres at Valley High.

McKee pointed out that revenues can only be used for the capital fund, not the general fund.