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IUSD Selects Site A for Irvine’s 5th High School; “Haddad High” to Open in 2016

musick jail

The war is over on the location of Irvine’s new High School; it’s Site A, the one located near a soon-to-expand jail and a sealed toxic waste dump.  The IUSD board voted 4-0 to go along with recommendations from after almost three years of “due diligence” which led to site approval from the California Department of Education and the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.  Never mind an exhaustive investigation by Harvey Liss who used government files to document the chemicals near Site A and independent reason to outline the health risks.  Never mind the districts out of date data on crime stats of schools near jails.  Site A and only Site A was the new spot largely because it’s in Five Point’s strategic plan for homes and new neighborhoods.

The move to take Ira Glasky off the school board and hold a special election had no impact whatever on the Board’s vote, which likely would have voted 5-0 had he still been on the board.  The location of Site A is designed to help Emile Haddad and Five Point Communities sell homes near a high school (with almost no mention of the prison nearby or the presence of a sealed toxic waste site).

This decision was inevitable.  My first thought is “at least my daughter won’t go there.”

It will be interesting to see how the prison and new high school co-exists in the future and to monitor the long term health of students and teachers who will attend and work in this new school.  It also makes it easy to see who Emile Haddad cuts checks to come election season.


Irvine traditionally names High Schools based on where they are located.  Woodbridge High is in Woodbridge.  University High in the University neighborhood.  Northwood High is in Northwood Pointe.  The next task is deciding what to name this new high school and to pick the nickname.

It’s high time IUSD starts naming high schools after people who had had a big impact on the community.  Might we suggested “Emile Haddad High School?”  Between his city council majority backed takeover of the Great Park, the deal for Site A, and the firm’s opposition to the Veteran’s Cemetery on the site of the Great Park it won’t control, why not call it Five Points High?  Haddad High?  It has a nice ring to it.  As for nicknames, the “Wardens,” “the Guards” or “Inmates” works nicely for that jail tie in.  If you’d rather focus on the toxic waste site, the “Toxic Avengers” works (anyone else remember that flick from Troma Films?).  I’d also suggest “the Wildfire” due to the proximity to dangerous wildfires in the area that hit in 2007.


No, I’m not happy with this decision at all.  The district’s unwillingness to consider anything but Site A is going to make it a little harder for a number of people to write that check for fundraisers that are practically non-stop.  Perhaps I’ll write ones that benefit a more specific program, like Girl’s Tennis, Model UN, the Debate Team or the Northwood Theater program.  Maybe Don Wagner can do a better job of getting more tax dollars from Sacramento or make it easier to pass a local parcel tax (keep dreaming). And then maybe Haddad can write a check with enough zeros in it to cover the annual fundraising effort every year.  There’s certainly enough profit in the immediate future to do so.

Next up for IUSD, besides the unnecessary special election forced upon the district, is a proposed Technology Bond that appears to seek funds only from homeowners and not commercial property owners and a Technology plan that I believe has significant flaws, especially with its reliance on BYOD tech.  Then again, that was the information in the robocall Irvine parents got months ago.

If you have a suggestion for the High School name and mascot, feel free to post it in comments.


  1. Just an Irvine Parent Just an Irvine Parent May 21, 2014

    The true nature of the organized opposition to the school board’s preferred high school location was discussed in the Register on April 16 under Lauren Steussy’s byline (quoting Agran himself: “…under the terms of the state’s school funding and land-transfer provisions, the city and Great Park would be expected to receive at least $60 million for our share of the value of the land at Site B.”). Once the Cal DTSC approved the site and the selection process, the next crusade for a state veteran’s cemetery at the Great Park was launched- I’m not sure what the price tag is on that one or whether it’s the state or the Feds that will be on the hook to buy the land from Irvine. As for Mr. Liss’ report, if it’s the one you had linked to on this site several months ago: it’s hard to take that report seriously as an engineering analysis of contamination at Site A. That report did not contain any independent or quantitative technical analysis or risk assessment of the site based on the data available from numerous sources. The school board’s consultant’s report made use of the same historical gov’t sources and his report did not directly address or challenge the conclusions in the consultant’s report.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | May 22, 2014

      I just went back and re-read Harvey’s report; Dr. Liss has a PhD in civil engineering and taught engineering at a collegiate level. If you had a hard time taking that report seriously, then its simply a comment designed to float FUD. There is significant discussion of risk assessment. And the report certainly was independent.

      Is it was the IUSD board and administration asked for? No but to dismiss Dr. Liss’s report as “lacking” is wholly without merit.

  2. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski May 21, 2014

    The true nature of site A is land provided by a developer at a bargain to place a school there to make surrounding land more marketable for homes. As for Dr. Lise’s report, it was never meant to be an engineering analysis, and I disagree with your assessment of its conclusion. That all said. It’s a done deal. Sure hope cancer rates for kids and teachers at that new school isn’t out of sight.

  3. Ltpar Ltpar May 22, 2014

    Could be much worse. They could be calling it “Agran High School,” home of the fighting Agranistas. Perhaps instead of continuing to beat a dead horse on the location Dan, you could zero in on the suggestion that the School Board place some of the Great Park area in the Saddleback School District. Now, that’s something that we should all be against, even though it impact newer homes being built at the Park. Any Board member who votes in favor of dumping our future homes off to Saddleback, will never see another vote from me.

  4. School Mascot School Mascot June 27, 2014

    I think it’d be kind of neat if the school’s mascot/nickname was “The Bulls” or “Toros,” since the school is being built on the edge of the old El Toro base. The mascot graphic could even pay homage to the one Walt Disney designed for the base. Pretty cool.

    • Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | June 27, 2014

      What would you call the Girl’s teams? The Cows? Not flattering.

      My last team was a Girl’s sixth grade basketball all-star team; our nickname was “The Jets” It worked.

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