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Fresno Skyline About to Change as Iconic Downtown Sign Is Set to Come Down



The G sign has been a landmark on the downtown Fresno skyline for nearly 60 years. (Shutterstock)
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Some people think of downtown Fresno as very alphabetical, with streets ranging from A through U (minus I, J, and K, which lost out to historical luminaries like Van Ness and Fulton). But one letter rises above all the rest: the G sign that sits atop the State Center Community College Building at the corner of Fulton and Fresno streets.

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.

Even though the building no longer belongs to Guarantee Savings, the G sign has been an iconic part of Fresno’s downtown skyline for decades. Old-timers might remember the days when the sign, which was installed as a weather beacon in 1965, would be lit up with different colors to reflect the day’s weather.

These days the sign is a rusting hazard that officials worry might come crashing down in a ferocious winter storm, putting the building’s occupants as well as passersby on the sidewalks below at risk. So the State Center Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to award a $91,875 contract to Cencal Services to take down the sign.

Vice Chancellor Christine Miktarian said State Center officials have already cleared the project with the city of Fresno and historical preservation officials, since both the building and its sign are on the Local Register of Historic Places.

Too Rusty to Save

A thorough inspection by a structural engineer, architect, and the original sign installer determined that the sign is too dilapidated for restoration and must come down. The old sign might wind up in the sign “graveyard” at the Big Fresno Fair, Miktarian said.

But for fans of the G sign, fear not — the district plans to erect a replica sign and raise it above the 12-story building, she said.

State Center plans to keep the public in the loop about when the G sign will be coming down, since it will require street closures and a big crane. Miktarian said the plan is to get the work completed in the next four to six weeks, in advance of what could be a tempestuous El Nino winter.

The district has created a website for the G sign where updates about the project will be posted.

Although the new sign won’t be rotating, the district plans to light it up to match the lighting schedule on the building’s exterior, Miktarian said.

The colors include white and blue for New Year’s, purple, green, and white for Women’s History Month in March, red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July, and yellow, red, green, and black for National Black Business Month in August.

Also in School Zone: 

  • Will this Fresno university soon have fewer faculty members?
  • Fresno State gets $2.5 million to support engineering students.
  • Day of Giving nets big bucks for Fresno State.

Reports Surface of Fresno Pacific Layoffs

Fresno Pacific University in southeast Fresno apparently is preparing for faculty layoffs.

When asked to comment about a report that as many as 24 may be laid off, university spokesman Wayne Steffen replied in an email, “That number is not accurate but I’m working on a statement as we speak that I will send you tomorrow.”

Word about possible layoffs also surfaced on social media, with this tweet from Justin St. George, a Fresno Pacific grad and one-time candidate for the Fresno City Council:

An NDA is a nondisclosure agreement.

Low-Income Engineering Students Get Big Bucks for Studies

Future Fresno State students who are working on undergraduate engineering degrees (civil, geomatics, mechanical, electrical, or computer) will be getting more time to focus on their studies thanks to a $2.5 million federal grant.

Two groups of students will receive funding — about $11,000 annually — over six years. The money means that they won’t have to hold down jobs while taking classes.

The goal is to support the recruitment, retention and graduation of high-achieving, underrepresented, and financially disadvantaged students.

“Some students have to work to support themselves because they don’t receive enough financial aid and some are barely surviving. So it’s like we are adopting them by mentoring them and taking away that financial burden to allow them to focus on their studies and work on interesting projects and research,” Dr. Zoulikha Mouffak, project principal investigator and associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Fresno State, said in a news release.

Students selected will be applicants to Fresno State for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years.

Fresno State Reports Day of Giving Successes

The seventh annual Day of Giving last week at Fresno State was successful on multiple levels, the university reported.

The number of students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and family members contributing climbed to 1,852, an increase of 5.29% over last year. The number of gifts increased by 2.5%, with donations from 42 states and seven countries.

Over the past seven years Day of Giving, which has morphed into an online fundraising campaign, has raised more than $3.3 million, including nearly $471,000 this year.

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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