former juvenile hall

This rendering shows what a new Fresno Unified school may look like at the site of the former juvenile hall building on Ventura Street.

published on October 17, 2018 - 4:46 PM
Written by David Castellon

The former Fresno County Juvenile Hall may have a new owner soon.

Members of the Fresno Unified Board of Trustees are expected to vote during their meeting Wednesday evening to buy the 12.58 acres that house the long-vacated juvenile hall and other buildings for $1.2 million,

“If the board approves, the plan is to demolish the juvenile hall building” and replace it with a new state-of-the-art school to house the district’s alternative education programs for high school students, said Amy Idsvoog, a spokeswoman for the district.

While definitive plans have yet to be ironed out, the district has obtained artists’ renderings of what the new building may look like. Idsvoog said programs at the new site could include career technical education and it may serve as the locale where students learning through online programs rather than attending traditional schools would go to periodically meet with their teachers.

Other programs there could include “credit recovery,” where students make up credits missed and failed classes so they can graduate, she said.

The juvenile hall site is located off East Ventura Avenue between 9th and 10th streets. The county has owned the land since the 1800s, and the juvenile was built there in the 1950s.

The juvenile hall closed in 2006 amid news reports exposing deplorable conditions that earned it the nickname “hall of shame.”

There are other buildings on the site that were used by county agencies after the juvenile hall closed.

Idsvoog said there are no plans to demolish those other buildings, and if the purchase deal goes through, at least some might be renovated and used by the district possibly for adult education, teacher and staff training and office space.

She noted that the board meeting tonight will not address costs after the purchase for the renovations and to replace the juvenile hall.

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