SPUSD board hears update on
moving Ag program to Grant Line

June 24, 2015
Santa Paula News

The governing board of the Santa Paula Unified School District has been updated on the planned move of the high school Agriculture Animal Program to the Grant Line property.

The Santa Paula High School Agricultural Program has had an animal program for over 30 years located on property that was sold to Crown Disposal Company.  Previously the property had been owned by the City of Santa Paula.  Crown still owns the property, but has decided to lease it to Recology Corporation.  Because of that the program has to move to a new location.

In 2013, prior to unification, the former High School District Governing Board purchased 29 acres on Grant Line Road to have a location for the program.  Jon Turner of Phoenix Civil Engineering was retained by the District to assist with the engineering plans and specifications for basic pole barn structures, trash enclosures, access and utilities has needed.

The project has been divided into two phases. Turner told the board that Phase One includes a swine barn, sheep/goat barn, cattle barn, water tank, liquid waste tank, electrical service, a gravel road, new access gate, a trash area and water service from the existing irrigation system.

He explained that the estimated cost for Phase One is $1.7 million dollars. The bulk of the cost is for the three barns. The District has received a significant donation that will fund at least 50% of the project.  The Governor’s May revision contains potential grant funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs on a 1:1 match that the District will apply for if enacted into the final 2015/16 state budget. Long-time Santa Paula resident Orcas H. Thille recently made a substantial donation of 15,000 shares of stock to the Education Foundation in support of Santa Paula High School’s Agriculture Program.

Turner said that Phase Two improvements would include: a cattle arena, a grow area, a greenhouse, an equipment barn and city water and sewer service. That phase comes with a price tag of $1.2 million dollars, bringing the total for both phases to $2.89 million.

Turner said the project has a lot of water conservation features. He said that in 2014 the orchard that is currently on the site used 11.7 million gallons of water. He added, “If you just cut the trees down you save about a million gallons of water.” He said he calculated that the estimated average of 700 gallons of water per animal per month at 52 animals over a 10-month period comes to 364,000 gallons a year versus the current usage at the Grant Line site of 997,000 gallons. 

Concerning the issue of annexing the property to the City of Santa Paula, Turner said he and District staff met with the Local Agency Formation Commission, which must approve any annexations. “They were very supportive of the project,” he said. 

The board will act on the proposal at a future date.

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