I wasn’t familiar with Fresno High until P de Q opened a couple of years ago across the street. They’re a bakery that makes delicious Brazilian cheese bread, or Pao de Queijo. Aside from enjoying delicious bread, visiting the bakery introduced me to Fresno High, which has a beautiful main building. I also noticed major construction underway.
The project involved blowing up two bunker buildings, that ruin the architecture, and build new ones off to the side in a complementary architectural style. The bunkers used to block the view of the historic building.
You can see the buildings overhead here
I did a construction update in January of 2013 when the new buildings were going up, but the old ones were still there. Well last month I stopped by, and construction has ended.
Here’s what it looks like now
Let’s take a closer look.
The new buildings are modern, but take cues from the original style
This is seen from the end at Weldon. The sidewalk got work too, adding that planting area. Unfortunately they left a ridiculous pole blocking the sidewalk.
The ramp is also badly designed
Parking was maintained
So this is odd. The library media center has a front door built right up to the street. Fantastic right?
Problem is, the school is gated, meaning everyone has to walk in through one, and only one entrance.
Good architecture, bad street life.
Moving on we see some additional greenery into the street, and an improved handicap parking area
But this I dont get at all. Why isn’t that portion of the crosswalk built as sidewalk? It just looks wrong, and cheap. They also didn’t bother to paint the crosswalk in a more visible style. You’ll also note that the sign is very far from the roadway, and blocking the sidewalk, rather than in the planter.
At night this crosswalk is very dangerous. The lighting is entirely useless.
Worse, the city once again decided that at an intersection with three crosswalks, to only paint one. This is a major school, what are they thinking?
Anyway, looking back at the building.
And back towards the crosswalk. I don’t understand this hatched space at all. Also, note the truncated domes. They indicate to the blind that they’re entering a crosswalk – and yet here, they’re not. WHy not just extend the sidewalk all the way and add trees?
Here’s the centerpiece, which used to be hidden
Finally, a grand entrance again
And peeking through the gate
Arriving at the next crosswalk. Same problems as before
The next new building, this one you can enter from the street. I think you have to if you’re a visitor.
Where’s the crosswalk?
Dead space. Where are the bike racks?
Walking back, you can see the retail block across the street
Overall, the new buildings are great. A huge improvement, that really elevates the campus. It’s a shame that the district gates their schools, unlike Clovis, but I can understand some of the reasoning.
The streetscape on the other hand? Once again, not so great. As with the Broadway project, the city reveals that they have no one on staff that understands how to plan for people. When we’re talking about a major High School, that’s particularly problematic.