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Changing This New School's Name Will Cost Fresno-Area District an Extra $38K
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 3 years ago on
March 23, 2021

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When Central Unified School District trustees agreed last year to name the district’s newest campus Justin Garza High School, they may not have known it would cost taxpayers $38,003.

That’s because when the contract to build the school was awarded to Harris Construction in 2019, the name listed on the blueprints was simply Central High School. The district later asked the community to submit potential names for the new high school campus — the district’s third.

After a strong campaign by friends and family of Justin Garza, the former football coach at Central High who died in 2017 after battling cancer, the School Board voted to name the school after him.

But the name change came with a price tag, because “Central” has seven letters, whereas “Justin Garza” has 11.

“The name, Justin Garza High School, has more letters, resulting in that (construction) change order,” district spokeswoman Sonja Dosti told GV Wire℠ on Monday.

According to the change order, accommodating the extra four letters in Justin Garza’s name will require adding more steel and framing to the building.

That comes out to $9,500.75 per letter.

More Change Orders on Tap

The new name is one of 10 changes that will add $205,032 to the high school’s construction cost. The School Board will consider the change orders as information items at Tuesday’s public board meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m.

If the board approves the changes at the April 27 meeting, the overall contract amount will increase to $105.5 million. The original contract award was $104.2 million.

Meanwhile, the trustees will consider and vote on a recommendation to remove remaining work on the athletic fields at Justin Garza High from the original construction contract.

In April 2020, nearly a year after the original contract was awarded, the School Board approved a revised design for the athletic fields that resolved “functionality concerns.”

But district officials are now recommending that the remaining work be bid as a separate project after the design is approved by the Division of State Architect.

Dosti did not immediately respond to a query about what impact the delay will have on the campus readiness.

Update: Central Unified Superintendent Andy Alvarado said Tuesday morning that the athletic fields should be ready for students by the spring of 2022. The original plan called for a varsity softball field, a varsity baseball field, and a freshman baseball field, but a Division 1 comprehensive high school is expected to have freshman, JV, and varsity softball and baseball fields, he said.

The district also is expanding green space for other sports such as soccer, Alvarado said.

The high school, under construction at Grantland and Ashlan avenues in northwest Fresno, is scheduled to open to students this fall.

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Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

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