What Is Being Built Next to Portola High School?


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Construction can be seen along Cadence and Meridian, across the street from Portola High School.

Ryne Dunman, Contributing Writer

Great Park Neighborhoods announced the development of a new residential community next to Portola High School on Feb. 3. The announcement came shortly after the completion of the Cadence Park community along Irvine Boulevard.

“Now, we’re proud to introduce Rise, our next great neighborhood, offering yet another beautiful mix of homes, memorable events and, of course, a pretty great park of its own,” Great Park Neighborhoods said on its community website. “Linked by trail to all things Great Park, including nearby Portola High School, Rise is an exciting new way to live in Irvine.”

A specific address for Rise was never released. However, the community confirmed on Instagram that this was the construction surrounding Portola High on Feb. 7.

The new construction will include multiple childcare facilities, mixed-use development and 1,780 residential units according to a district plan released by the City of Irvine. Bike trails and parks will be interspersed throughout the community, and a K-8 school will be located in the easternmost area of Rise. Rise will become the sixth Great Park Neighborhood upon its completion at an unspecified date.

Some students supported the new development, deeming it a great investment opportunity for the Great Park and an effective way to meet Irvine’s housing demands.

“Portola High School is such a great school and there is no doubt a company such as the Great Park would capitalize on it,” sophomore Desmond Wong said. “In the grand scheme of things, [the development] is a positive thing. New housing and schools give more people an opportunity to get a great education in Irvine.”

Opponents criticized the Great Park for the new construction, citing the nearby site’s health risk to students and arguing that another community would thicken the traffic along Irvine Boulevard.

“I think that traffic is already super heavy going to and from school, and more construction does make me a little worried,” sophomore Abigail Kwon said. “I’m also a little concerned about the dust and debris from the sites being so close to our school.”

A variety of homes are currently pre-selling and available for purchase on the Great Park Neighborhoods website with prices ranging from $600,000 to $1,400,000. Among the community’s residential developers are Shea Homes, Pulte Homes and Lennar. Rise’s first park is also slated to open to the public on Feb. 29.

“Our newest neighborhood park, Rise Park, is opening Saturday, February 29th,” Great Park Neighborhoods said on its website. “We’re celebrating with tours of the latest home collections and all kinds of fun in the park. Take a Tai Chi lesson, Zorb down the lawns and enjoy food and music all afternoon. Come out and play.”