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Decision to Move High School Gets Mixed Reception : Oxnard: Some fear that moving the campus farther from the airport will result in increased noise and traffic.

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

A decision to move Oxnard High School from its current location near Oxnard Airport to a lemon orchard about two miles away touched off mixed feelings from students Thursday and strong protests from some residents who said they fear that a new school would increase noise and traffic congestion.

The Oxnard Union High School District ended more than four years of searching for a new campus site Wednesday by picking a 50-acre parcel near the southwest corner of Patterson and Gonzales roads for the new school.

The district plans to build a campus for 2,400 students that would be open either in September, 1993, or February, 1994, said Sandra Barbier, assistant Oxnard High School principal.

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Oxnard High, which has a 60% Latino population, is the oldest school in the county and has been at 5th Street and Hobson Way since 1902, Barbier said.

For at least the past two years, since state officials declared the campus unsafe because of its proximity to Oxnard Airport, the district has been considering relocating the school.

But the selection of the site farther from the airport has caused a furor among some Oxnard residents, who fear that construction of the school will pave the way for further development and, subsequently, traffic congestion and crime.

One of those residents is Angie Wiggins, a resident of the Summerfield housing development off Patterson Road. Wiggins, who moved to Ventura from Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, said she would not oppose an elementary school in the area, but is afraid that high school teen-agers would increase noise and traffic.

“Kids want to have fun,” she said. “What was once a nice, quiet street will now be noisy.”

Her husband was more adamant in his objection.

“If it’s in the flight path, why move it a mile and a half to another flight path?” he asked angrily, saying he fears that a new school will set the stage for further development in his neighborhood.

“The issue is about paving the way for other developments,” he said. Also, he said, “I don’t want gangbangers speeding up and down the street.”

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But Richard Canady, assistant business manager of the Oxnard School District, said the district is not requesting annexation. Consequently, he said, “there’s less inducement for further development.”

Some students at Oxnard High, however, said they look forward to a relocation of the school because the lemon orchard is farther from airport traffic and a new school would have more up-to-date equipment.

Victor Sanchez, 15, said he likes the idea of moving.

“We’ll get away from the fire station and the airport,” he said. “The noise distracts us when we are working.”

Sanchez said he was also looking forward to roomier surroundings. “These classrooms are small,” he said.

Ronda Branch, 17, who said she will be in the last class to graduate from Oxnard High in its present location, said she wishes she could move to the new site.

“It will have more high-tech equipment,” she said.

But Natalie De Santiago, 14, said she is concerned that Oxnard High will lose its history. “It would be better if it stayed here,” she said. “My older sister graduated from here last year.”

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Besides, she added, “it’s close to home.”

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