KNIGHT HIGH ON HORIZON SPECIAL STATE FUNDS TO FINANCE PROJECT.
LANCASTER - Antelope Valley Union High School District officials hope to start construction next May on the $55 million William J. ``Pete'' Knight High School, which will be designed to hold 3,000 students.
The school site, at 70th Street West and Avenue R-8, will open in the fall of 2002 with only freshmen in a two-story modular building complex while construction of the rest of the school gets under way. The entire school will open in 2003.
``We would like to be at 2,000 kids per high school. It's a manageable number from a curriculum standpoint and an operational standpoint,'' said Jeff Foster, assistant superintendent of administrative services.
``All of our high schools, with the exception of Antelope Valley High School, are close to 3,000, and they are not designed for 3,000.''
The campus will be financed with state ``hardship'' funds, for which the district qualified because of its unsuccessful effort to pass a $91 million bond measure last November.
Knight High School will take students from Palmdale and Littlerock high schools.
Palmdale High School has an enrollment of 3,100 students, and Littlerock's is at 2,950. Each school was designed to hold 2,100 students, officials said.
Antelope Valley High School has 2,300 students.
High school trustees voted in April to name the school for Knight, a state senator, former Palmdale mayor and test pilot. The name drew complaints at Wednesday night's high school board meeting from members of the local chapter of the Mexican-American Political Association.
They criticized Knight for a 1993 incident in which he distributed a derogatory poem about Latino immigrants at a Republican caucus meeting. Knight later apologized and said he was not a racist.
``A school should be named after a hero, after a person who cares for people,'' said MAPA member Natalie Hernandez.
The school board will take the complaint under advisement, trustee Darrel Brown said.
The last school built by the district was Lancaster High School, which was completed in 1995. The school cost $32 million, which Foster noted was for the building only.
The preliminary estimate of $55 million for Knight High School includes the additional costs for building roads, water and sewer hookups, utilities and other improvements.
``The price of construction is more today than it was back then, the design is slightly different, and there are additional (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements,'' Foster said.
Map: Future William J. "Pete" Knight High School