Special needs campus in Fresno Unified reopens after 18-month renovation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One by one students returned to Rata High School Monday morning after a break for the holidays.

But the first day back to class in 2019 marks a brand new beginning at the northwest Fresno campus.

"Renovations are all done. Students are coming back for the first time since the renovations. Everything looks good and everyone is excited to be here," said Travis Dyer, Rata High School Principal.

Rata High School serves about 50 students with developmental disabilities from 9th grade through 12th, and adults up to 22-years-old.

Classrooms were expanded, doorways were widen, more restrooms were added, and technology is now in the hands of students to help with learning.

While renovations were made everyone was relocated to McLane High School in Central Fresno.

"It is like moving into a brand new house, that smell, that newness, and the freshness for our students. We were at McLane for a year and half as they did the transition. But the wait was worth every minute of it," said Bill Vander Kooi, Rata High School Teacher

Vander Kooi has been a teacher at Rata High School for nearly 20 years.

The newly renovated campus is excited for him and his fellow teachers.

"We took a week just before Christmas. We came in the whole staff, came in for a whole week just to get everything ready and no body complained about that," said Vander Kooi.

The $5.2 million renovation was made possible through Measure X.

The bond measure was approved by voters in November 2016.
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