Work is proceeding on three major Clovis Unified construction projects: a new multi-school educational center southeast of Fresno, a new elementary school that will be the first in the district named for a Japanese American (who was a longtime district employee), and a new soccer field complex at Clovis East High School.
The biggest project is the Terry Bradley Educational Center at Highland and Clinton Avenues, which is scheduled to open to students in grades seven through nine in August 2025, with additional grade levels added in subsequent years. The campus site is in an unincorporated portion of Fresno County that’s within the city of Fresno’s sphere of influence but has not yet been annexed.
The city has been trying to move forward with the South East Development Area, formerly known as the South East Growth Area, despite objections from some area residents.
Although the city of Fresno’s plans for SEDA have been delayed, growth in the area and also in the cities of Fresno and Clovis are fueling the district’s need to build the complex, district spokeswoman Kelly Avants told GV Wire.
“While the southeast growth area will also contribute enrollment to the campus, regardless of SEGA’s timing, the campus is necessary,” Avants said.
At the Terry Bradley Center site, the main activity at this time is heavy equipment moving dirt, in preparation for utility infrastructure, Avants said. It will be several months before concrete is poured and framework starts to rise at the site, she said.
The site work includes digging out an oval-shaped area for a flood control basin on the site, which will eventually have a high school, middle school, and elementary school.
The district is moving forward on an “extraterritorial agreement” to provide sewer hookups to the site, which lies some distance from both the city of Fresno and city of Clovis limits and existing sewer lines. But, at this point, district officials are confident that the district will be able to sign the agreement and forgo spending $25 million on a wastewater treatment plant for the site, Avants said.
The Fresno County Planning Commission rejected the plant proposal in a 3-3 vote earlier this year.
Higher Construction Costs
Meanwhile, increases in construction costs caused the district to pare down its initial plans, moving some buildings into a later phase. The original estimated budget of $250 million for the campus, which will hold three schools plus an events center that will be available for district and community use, had grown to $397 million.
“We are living in a period of nearly unprecedented increases in the raw materials used in construction,” Avants said. “These large-scale projects are being designed and built in a climate of steeply rising costs and we have had to make adjustments in planning and timelines as a result of this reality. Ultimately, however, our goals of building facilities that meet the needs of our students and reflect the educational facilities specifications that we have for our district schools will be achieved.”
Also under construction is Hirayama Elementary, named for Satoshi Hirayama, a standout athlete who was interned with other Japanese Americans during World War II. Hirayama, who played baseball at Fresno State, set aside his athletic career to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, after which he played professional baseball in Japan. He later became a teacher and principal in Clovis Unified schools.
Hirayama School, which is being built at the intersection of Fowler and McKinley Avenues in unincorporated Fresno County, is scheduled to open in August 2024.
Clovis East Soccer Complex
The Clovis East soccer complex is on schedule to open before or by late November when the soccer season starts, Avants said. The project includes soccer fields, bleachers, restrooms, a snack bar, and a scoreboard.
“As you know, construction schedules on huge projects like these are always subject to modifications through the build process that can be based on weather delays, state department of architects turnaround times, and supply chain issues, and we must be prepared for those possibilities too,” she said.