Fresno charter school to get new home

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A historic building in downtown Fresno was being renovated to house a charter school.

Crews have begun demolition work on the old Parker Nash building which was originally built in 1913. The roof must first be removed. The brick shell will remain but everything else will be taken down including the foundation and rebuilt for a structural retrofit.

Construction manager Errol Upton said, "So the outside when you come by the building it will, for the most part, will look the exact same as it does now with some minor touches and improvements but inside there will be a state of the art modern school."

The building was listed on Fresno's Local Register of Historic Resources. Developer Cliff Tutelian figured renovation work will be complete in December. At that time, kids and staff from the three-year-old Kepler Charter School will move in. Principal Christine Montanez couldn't wait.

Montanez said, "In terms of just square footage we're doubling in class size. Not the students size but the class size. It's going to do a lot for us moving from about 20,000 to 37,000 square feet."

330 students K through 8 currently used classroom space at the Cornerstone Church facility a block away. With the new building enrollment may top out at 440.

Montanez explained, "Being a downtown service learning school our mission is to kind of move alongside the revitalization of downtown Fresno and so we do a lot of service learning projects on the Fulton Mall."

Upton added, "That's one of the great things about this project is what it's going to mean to this community down here in downtown Fresno and what it's able to bring back."

The kids were also very excited because they'll soon have a grassy area and playground equipment across the street from the school.
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