The former Fresno County Juvenile Hall building in Fresno closed in 2006 amid news reports exposing deplorable conditions that earned it the nickname “hall of shame.”
Written by David Castellon
Within two or three months, the Fresno Unified School District likely will own the former Fresno County Juvenile Hall.
Wednesday night, the school district’s board of directors voted unanimously to buy the 12.58-acre series of parcels that house the long-vacated juvenile hall and other buildings for $1.2 million from Fresno County.
The county’s board of supervisors had previously voted to approve the sale.
Once escrow closes, 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.
While definitive plans have yet to be ironed out, the district has obtained artists’ renderings of what the new building may look like. Programs at the new site could include career technical education and it may serve as the locale where students learning through online programs 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.
There are other buildings on the site that were used by county agencies after the juvenile hall closed.
Amy Idsvoog, Fresno Unified communications analyst, 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 will address costs to tear down juvenile hall, erect the replacement building and renovate the other buildings after the purchase is finalized.
The combination of open land and buildings were put up for sale, and last year when the supervisors accepted a $1.51 million purchase bid — slightly more than the asking price — by a development group out of Bakersfield.
That deal fell through in February, however, after county officials declined a request by the buyer to extend the escrow period.
The school district in March initiated discussions with the county on purchasing the land.
Under the agreement, the land and buildings are being sold as is, with the county bearing about $5,000 in costs to close out the site, while the school district would have to pay a $100,000 deposit that would be refundable if the deal isn’t completed.