Fresno Unified building new education complex where juvenile hall once stood

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is building a new campus that will serve students who otherwise could be left behind.

The spot where the old Fresno County Juvenile hall once stood is being transformed into an educational complex for Fresno Unified students.

"We felt, hey why not change the narrative in southeast Fresno and tear down a prison, a symbol of shame," said Council President Luis Chavez.

Plans for the new Ed center started years ago.

"It's going to benefit thousands and thousands of children and families in our community," continued Chavez. "I always had this motto as a teacher that today's students are tomorrow's leaders, and I think that's going to happen in the campus when its built."

The district purchased the property, near Ventura and 10th, back in 2018.

"We were very limited at several of our sites, because they were so small," explained FUSD Alternative Ed Administrator Yolanda Jimenez-Ruiz. "We wanted to expand program for some of our neediest students."

The plan is to house several high school alternative education programs and the educational resource center in the new space.

"This is a great opportunity for students to be in the same space and have varying opportunities to take coursework, get support that they need, have that flexible schedule," added Jimenez-Ruiz.

It will also accommodate students in need of non-traditional schedules, offering morning afternoon and evening classes.

"We've had orchestra players, we've had actors through our programs, so they just have varying interests and they need schedules to meet those demands," added Jimenez-Ruiz.

It's designed to meet the needs of over 1,200 students with career pathway programs offered in engineering, business and technology.

"I really see that campus capturing everything that is in transition right now and preparing them for the future," added Chavez.

It's expected to open to students in fall of 2023.
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