District continues looking for facility for charter school
The committee was formed during the board’s regular Tuesday, June 10 meeting. The district has been looking at moving DMCHS to a new facility because it has outgrown its current location in the Lassen Shopping Center.
In addition, Alternative Education Principal Brett Mitchell said Phillips Edison Company, which brings in big retail clients, has purchased the Lassen Shopping Center.
He said unless DMCHS is willing to commit to a long-term agreement and pay a lot more money, the owners are not interested in DMCHS staying in its current location.
Mitchell said DMCHS is on a month-to-month agreement and is paying nearly $1700 in rent. In order to stay, the district would probably be looking at a five-year commitment and only when an agreement is signed will the owners negotiate rental fees.
If the district decides to purchase a new facility, it will use developer fees, which are levied on developers or other agencies when wanting to build commercial buildings or residences. The fees are only to be used for classroom expansion.
The purchase of a new facility has garnered some concerns from the district’s teachers and parents.
During the meeting, Lassen Teachers Association Co-President Maria Fregulia asked what the comparative costs are between the rent at DMCHS’s current location and the potential payments of a new building.
Theobald said the issue regarding rent would be discussed if and when it gets to that point in negotiations.
He said, by law, negotiations cannot be public, but everything will be done within the law.
Theobald said if he were to go and buy something, he would not tell the owner what he was willing to pay during the negotiations.
Fregulia said he could do that as a private entity, but the public should know what is being done with its money.
Theobald said at certain points in time, when it’s required, the district will provide appropriate information.
Due to growth, the district has been looking at moving to a new facility since last October. DMCHS, which serves Lassen, Plumas, Modoc and Sierra counties, ended the school year with 82 students.
In addition, DMCHS recently went through the accreditation process by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. A WASC team visited the school and recommended moving the school to a new building.
As the district has looked at purchasing a facility on the corner of Main and Weatherlow Streets, Mitchell said he has consulted with its legal counsel every step of the way.
The facility recently received contingent approval by the California Department of Education, which requires the potential new facility for Diamond Mountain Charter High School go through phase I of an environmental clearance process. This includes a geological hazards report and a toxic examination by the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
In addition, the potential environmental impact has to be identified per California Environmental Quality Act, which has been completed.
Mitchell said the district has received a letter from the
Susanville City Planning Department saying using the facility as a school falls within the city’s zoning laws.
Also after receiving contingent approval, the district has to host a public hearing and post the proposed use of the facility and zoning requirements. Mitchell said a public hearing could be scheduled at the next board meeting held on Tuesday, July 8.
As part of the final part of the process, DTSC will be making a site visit to ensure there aren’t any potential toxic hazards that may have been missed, including the close proximity of the gas station across the street.
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