The patience of local law enforcement officials is wearing thin as they continue to wait for a new first-responder training facility to be built.
Fresno City College’s fire and police academies have served as the primary training facilities for Central Valley public safety agencies for years. Both have outgrown their existing facilities.
Kingsburg Police Chief Neil Dadian said he’s been waiting decades for State Center Community College District to deliver on its promise of a new training center. The facilities cadets train in now are shameful, he said.
“You would never allow for conditions where a student-athlete was to change in a parking lot after practice and then attend class for the remainder of the day without the opportunity to shower,” said Dadian, who has taught at the police academy for over 20 years. “Our police cadets endure this humiliation every day.”
However, FCC President Carole Goldsmith said Dadian’s depiction of the situation is not quite accurate.
“The police cadets do have access to the FCC Field House to change in the locker rooms and shower,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said the administration has worked with the athletics department and police academy staff on shared use of existing facilities. The field house is within walking distance of the police academy, Goldsmith said.
Still, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said it is frustrating that a new facility hasn’t appeared to be a top priority.
“They used law enforcement and fire for the advertisements for the campaign to get people to vote for the (bond) measures, but nothing has been done for us,” Mims said. “They have many times over the number of students using the same-sized facilities as when I went through the academy 40 years ago.”
Goldsmith said FCC has made the center a priority. A big reason for the delays, she said, is difficulty finding a suitable location.
“Facilities for police and fire academies have been in the planning process since Measure E was passed (in 2002),” Goldsmith said. “Concept plans were developed, but the project was postponed due to property no longer being viable.”
SCCCD is in negotiations for a property in southeast Fresno to house both academies. Goldsmith said the required due diligence is nearing completion.
“While the district is negotiating for the land, the college has taken several law enforcement and fire personnel to visit existing academies so that we can move on the plans as soon as the property is purchased,” Goldsmith said.
SCCCD is funding the $45 million joint training center with a combination of Measure C and Measure E facilities bonds. It hopes the facility will be operational in 2023.
Goldsmith said her goal is to take recommendations for the new facility to the SCCCD board of trustees within the next 60 days.
March Match Up Breaks Records
Fresno State’s March Match Up campaign set a record this year.
The month-long event attracted 321 donors, who together contributed over $250,000 to the college’s Student Cupboard, a food and hygiene pantry for students experiencing food insecurity. That’s an increase of 34 donors and more than $102,000 above last year.
Fresno State credits its generous matching partners for the campaign’s success. Moss Adams LLP, Granville Homes, and an anonymous donor teamed up to match, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 in gifts to the Student Cupboard during the campaign.
Several other corporate partners also kept the momentum going, helping to push the campaign into overdrive, said Lisa Boyles, Fresno State’s public information officer.
The numbers are in, and the community raised a record amount for #FresnoState students! 😁
— Fresno State (@Fresno_State) April 8, 2019
Fresno State First Lady Mary Castro was overjoyed with this year’s earnings.
“The success of this year’s March Match Up, and the participation of so many partners and donors, shows the community’s willingness to invest in the long-term success of this impactful program,” said Castro, who has volunteered to spearhead the campaign since its inception in 2016. “Students from every field of study are feeling empowered and believed in through the generosity of Student Cupboard donors.”
For many high school students, trendy clothes are a luxury they can’t afford.
To help, Jeannine Der Manouel and other teachers at Fresno High started a weekly event called Warrior Rack, which provides a free clothing closet for students. The event officially kicked off last month and takes place every Thursday at Victoria Park.
The Warrior Rack started two weeks ago at Fresno High School and it’s a community success! The Warrior Rack gives the students the opportunity to select clothing items for free. Students set up the rack every Thursday at the school stocked with gently used clothes, thanks to pic.twitter.com/DbOAxu1YIl
— Fresno Unified (@fresnounified) March 23, 2019
Student volunteer Briana Delgado recognizes the value of the effort.
“Some people shame (the Warrior Rack), but I want students to feel comfortable being able to get whatever they want and for whatever reason they want,” Delgado said.
Der Manouel said the Warrior Rack started with teachers on campus who were individually helping students who were at an economic disadvantage.
“We recognized that our kids live in poverty in many homes and we wanted to have this free boutique available for them whether they had a stated need because we don’t want them to feel the stigma of asking,” Der Manouel said. “We want everybody to feel free to come and do something that is trendy and feel good about it and walk away.”
Those wanting to donate can do so at Fresno High’s front office.