Escrow opens for charter school facility
The proposed facility received contingent approval by the California Department of Education, which requires the facility to go through Phase I of an environmental clearance process including 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. The Susanville City Planning Department has also said using the facility as a school falls within the city’s zoning laws.
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.
The new facility would give the district an opportunity to expand its vocational program such as starting a culinary school. The new facility would also provide room for a library, a computer lab and a teachers’ lounge.
During its accreditation process, a Western Association of Schools and Colleges team visited DMCHS and recommended moving the school to a new building.
In addition, a new facility for DMCHS was identified as a need during a community strategic planning session held on Tuesday, May 6.
DMCHS is currently located in the Lassen Shopping Center, which has been purchased by Phillips Edison Company, who brings in retail clients.
Alternative Education Principal Brett Mitchell 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.
DMCHS is on a month-to-month agreement and is paying nearly $1,700 a month 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, Mitchell said.
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 potential purchase of a new building has caused concern among parents and teachers.
The board will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in open session at the Lassen High School library.
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