City and School District work in tandem

City of Clovis and Clovis Unified School District officials meet for their annual joint meeting on Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo by Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)
Superintendent Dr. Eimear O’Farrell gives the CUSD report. (Photo by Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

On Sept. 18, Clovis Unified hosted the annual joint city council school board meeting at its technology service center. For the first time in the meeting’s history, which dates back to 2003 and was started under the leadership of then Mayor Lynne Ashbeck, all council and board members were present to share their thoughts and ideas on the state of the community.

Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell opened up the meeting with a report on the first days of school. This year’s theme is “Be the Difference,” and according to O’Farrell’s report, Clovis Unified students are up to a good start. Among the many exciting things set to occur this year, Clovis North’s wind ensemble will be one of only five groups traveling to an international invite-only performance in Chicago; Clovis East FFA continues to thrive, being named third in the nation; and the district itself is set to implement five new career pathways for students.

While student academic and extracurricular programs are on the up and up, Clovis Unified is also wrapping up a series of construction projects started over the summer.

Assistant Superintendent of Facility Services Kevin Peterson gave an update on the many ongoing bond-funded projects.

The following are just a few of the projects Peterson highlighted:

· Buchanan High School has new and improved polished concrete and way finding signage. The campus pool’s entire deck and pool surface was update and pool equipment was replaced. There is also a new restroom building, new academic hallways, and the multi-purpose room got polished concrete complete with the BHS logo. Improvements were also made to the career and counseling center and library media center.
· At Lincoln Elementary, 200 square feet of space and a new serving station have made the multi-purpose room more functional. The school also had improvements made to its administrative building, with an additional area for the school nurse, a conference room, updated entry, and ADA upgrades in the bathrooms.
· Though Clovis North/Granite Ridge campus is relatively new, it’s counseling center now has specified offices instead of cubicles for greater privacy, and a problem with the drainage system was cleaned up in the amphitheater.
· The District office and updated board meeting chamber are still not open completed, but the westside entry now features a mural of kids getting on a school bus. The professional development building has new carpet, offices and new cubicles in accounting the area, and conference rooms.
· Clovis Elementary School has an enhanced reading area for students with advanced lighting, an entry design and all new HVAC system.
· Clark Intermediate has a new choir room with acoustic clouds. There is also a shade cover in maintenance area to work on props for the MET.
· Bud Rank has a new reading area and new projectors in each classroom.
· Woods and Reagan have enhanced audio visuals, reading areas, and new projection systems.
· The district is still completing its professional learning center, and a new campus catering building on Sunnyside and Herndon is still in the design process.

While Peterson shared many projects the school district is working on, Dwight Kroll, the city’s director of planning and development services gave a presentation on future development plans for the city.

As Loma Vista in the Clovis East area is well under way, Kroll focused on the city’s plans moving forward for the Heritage Grove northwest area and the future northeast area.

The following are some facts Kroll shared:

· The city conducted land use planning and started to put together the design plans for the northwest area, Heritage Grove. The city needs to build out 60 percent of Loma Vista before it can move into the northwest area. At last count, the city is at 59.99 percent.
· The northwest area will include an academic roadway that connects Minnewawa Avenue with International, bridging the gap between Buchanan, Clovis North, Clovis Community College and with several elementary school sites. For the street design, half will be dedicated to vehicles and the other half will be dedicated to bicycles and walking paths. The city hopes to incorporate a theme along the roadway related to the city’s educational legacy.
· The city is looking at Willow Avenue as a potential Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route that would integrate potentially with the City of Fresno and their bus system and reduce the number of cars on the road, particularly along the academic roadway.
· The northeast area is envisioned for a third urban village. Before adding more residential units, however, the city plans to attract job-building businesses to the area. The city’s general plan seeks to balance jobs with housing. The city wants to have a one-to-one housing balance throughout the community.
· Development has been brisk. The residential average in Clovis is about 750 units annually over the last 35 years, but the city is headed toward 850 or so this year.