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State Center's Big August Harvest Includes Reedley Child Center
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By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 8 months ago on
August 9, 2023

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Friday was a big day for State Center Community College District, which has been harvesting a bumper crop of projects this summer.

Want to check out earlier School Zone columns and other education news stories? You’ll find them at Nancy Price’s School Zone Facebook page.

The doors to the new $87 million West Fresno Center, a satellite campus of Fresno City College, were thrown open for public tours. The new center puts college classes, and soon automotive repair training classes, smack dab in the city’s southwest community.

Almost lost in West Fresno’s excitement was another State Center grand opening: Reedley College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Center for Early Childhood & Education.

The $12.5 million project, located near the construction site of the McClarty Center for Fine and Performing Arts, is 20,000 square feet of space that includes six classrooms (two for infants, two for toddlers, and two for preschoolers), six observation rooms, one lab classroom, 15 offices, and a staff lounge, workroom, and a food service area.


Also in School Zone: 

  • This Central Unified student will be recognized for his political advocacy and activism.
  • A medical school bridge program is seeking San Joaquin Valley applicants.
  • House Speaker McCarthy names students, educators of merit.

The Reedley child center and West Fresno campus have been built largely with funds from voter-approved bond measures that are also being used to construct the First Responders Campus in southeast Fresno.

Want to see a time lapse video of the Reedley center’s construction? Check this out.

The West Fresno Center opened for its first classes on Monday, with more than 1,000 enrolled students coming from high schools all over the city.

If you missed GV Wire’s coverage last week of the new West Fresno Center, here’s a video tour.

He Fought for School’s Name Change

Malachi Suarez, whose multi-year battle to strip the name of slave-owning U.S. President James Polk from his Central Unified elementary school finally paid off in June 2022, is getting some state-level recognition for his efforts.

Malachi will be recognized on Aug. 17 by Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, at the state Capitol, where he will receive a certificate.

The boy’s campaign began as a GATE project when he was 9 years old and a fourth grader at the school, and it ended when the board voted 5-2 a year ago to rename the school. He’s now 12 years old and entering the seventh grade.

The district was unable to say with certainty how and why the school was originally named after Polk, the nation’s 11th president who brought enslaved people to work at the White House and whose views on Manifest Destiny, the argument for westward expansion on the North American continent, are cited by many today as evidence of Polk’s espousal of white supremacy.

After conducting surveys, the School Board went with tradition for the school’s renaming — Central Elementary. Its address on Polk Avenue has not changed.

The Assembly floor session will begin at 9 a.m. on Aug. 17 and can be viewed through this link.

Want to Go to Medical School?

The University of San Francisco-Fresno’s SJV-MedBridge program is accepting applications from San Joaquin Valley community college students.

The program is funded by the state of California and includes $2.8 million in ongoing annual funding for the California Medicine Scholars Program. The goal is to increase the number of healthcare providers and address regional health disparities, including physician shortages.

The UCSF School of Medicine’s Regional Campus in Fresno is one of the four hubs where scholars are supported by community colleges partnering with universities, medical schools, community health clinics, and community-based organizations.

To learn more about UCSF Fresno’s SJV-MedBridge and to apply, go to https://sjvmedbridge.ucsf.edu.

Speaker McCarthy Names Student, Educator Honorees

He might be one of the nation’s most powerful politicians, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy still finds time to acknowledge students and educators in his 20th Congressional District.

McCarthy recently announced the winners of the 2023 Merit Award and Inspirational Educator Award for Fresno, Tulare, and Kings counties.

The Merit Award winners, who were nominated by their principals because of their academic excellence, community service, involvement in extracurricular activities, and leadership skills, are Laura Hioe, Buchanan High School, Clovis; D. Camden Noel, Clovis High School; Priya Gill, Clovis East High School; Paige Martinez, El Diamante High School, Visalia; Isabella Uhlik, Hanford High School; Keegan Dickinson, Lemoore High School; and Noah Hoy, Lemoore Middle College High School.

The Inspirational Educator Award winners were recognized by Merit Award winners as having the most inspirational academic influence on them during their high school years. The educator winners are Kathleen Gleason, Buchanan; Aaron Wilkins, Clovis High; Jeri Olson, Clovis East; Nancy Nauman, El Diamante; and Ashley Penir, Lemoore Middle College High.

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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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