A date has been set for the groundbreaking of Irvine Unified’s fifth comprehensive high school.
The IUSD Board of Education, district staff and local dignitaries will gather for a special ceremony to mark the beginning of construction on Thursday, Oct. 16. The event, which is open to the public, is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. at the future site of the new campus, which will be located on the south side of Irvine Boulevard, west of Alton Parkway. (Click to enlarge the map below.)
Because there’s not exactly a parking lot yet, guests are encouraged to carpool. For safety reasons, they’re also encouraged to wear flat, closed-toe shoes.
Irvine’s next high school may not have an official name — more on that in a minute — but it does have a targeted opening date. If all goes as planned, the state-of-the-art campus will welcome its first batch of freshmen in August 2016. That’s significant, because enrollment projections indicate IUSD will need a fifth comprehensive high school in place to accommodate thousands of new homes — and to prevent overcrowding at Irvine, Northwood, University and Woodbridge high schools.
In 2011, IUSD and its developer partners reached a tentative agreement on the school’s location, setting the stage for an exhaustive evaluation and testing process that culminated with approvals from the California Department of Education and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control. Nearly three years later, the Board of Education passed a resolution formally selecting the 40.2-acre site along Irvine Boulevard and allowing ownership of the property to be transferred from developer Heritage Fields.
Now it’s almost time to break ground on the new high school. But first comes the matter of what to call it.
In anticipation of the Oct. 16 ceremony, IUSD recently asked the community to submit potential names by Sept. 26 through an online input form, and the public responded with more than 300 suggestions. Superintendent Terry Walker and his staff will carefully review the list of entries before making a recommendation to the Board of Education, which is expected to vote on an official name at its Oct. 7 meeting.
Be sure to follow @IUSD on Twitter if you’d like to learn the name that evening.