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HANFORD — Where you would normally see a professor and students on a Monday night, a classroom at the College of the Sequoias Hanford Educational Center was taken over by city and school officials.

Members of the Hanford City Council, College of the Sequoias Board of Trustees and Hanford Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees held a joint meeting Monday to give updates on what each entity has been doing for the past year.

Here are some of the highlights from the annual joint meeting:

Hanford Joint Union High School District

HJUHSD Superintendent Bill Fishbough gave a quick update on the newly completed agricultural farm, saying there are already a few animals being housed at the farm and students are getting ready for the Kings County Fair.

“We’re really proud of it — proud of all the features that are there and proud of the fact that the ag community stepped-up with about 10 percent of our building costs in donations to help get it off the ground and get it running,” Fishbough said.

Renee Creech, director of business at the district, then gave an update on planned construction at Sierra Pacific High School.

Creech said the district is currently in the design phase for an administration/library building and pool. She said the building will offer new amenities to students, including a larger library with more room for them to collaborate.

The planned pool will cover a lot of bases, Creech said, including being the correct size for both high school and college competitions, and having a shallow end for physical education.

Creech said the district hopes to go out to bid for the project by September.

City of Hanford

Hanford Fire Department Chief Chris Ekk gave an update on the construction of Fire Station No. 3 at 12th Avenue and Woodland Drive, which had its groundbreaking in January. City Manager Darrel Pyle said the city hopes the project will be complete by the end of the year.

Police Chief Parker Sever talked about the department’s active shooter preparedness, especially at schools.

“I don’t really think school shootings are the normal, [but] I think it’s something we need to be concerned about,” Sever said. “We always need to keep it in perspective.”

Sever said the department takes threats seriously, but assured that schools are some of the safest places for kids to be.

He said school resource officers are a presence at some of the schools and provide students with what is known as “ALICE” training, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. He said officers have also worked with schools on emergency response plans and emergency drills.

Sever said the training helps instill a “warrior mindset” where students know what to do instead of freezing up and doing nothing when an unexpected event happens.

“What happens when you freeze is that you allow somebody else to take control of the situation and you,” Sever said. “And unfortunately, what we see is those people do not have the best intentions for you.”

College of the Sequoias

Kristin Robinson, provost of the COS Hanford Educational Center, said in the fall of 2010 the center opened and had just under 400 students. Now, the center serves over 2,500 students.

The center has two public safety programs: the police academy and the firefighter academy. She said around one-third of the school’s students attend one of the programs that are happening throughout the year at different times.

“This campus is busy every day of the week,” Robinson said, adding the programs are growing.

The programs and classes seem to be growing in general, with Robinson saying the school has increased the number of science classes offered and there are plenty of students in the industrial maintenance and electrical training programs.

A career development center is in the works on campus to allow students to participate in career exploration and connect with employers, Robinson said. The student pavilion outside has also been completed and so has The Avenue, a place where students can get food.

COS President Stan Carrizosa said the school is also making headway with having full-time faculty at the center. He said once the center has a handful of full-time faculty, then the academic culture on that campus changes and it’s a great feat to accomplish.

“That’s a big deal for us,” Carrizosa said. “We’re building that continuity now and that’s just continuing to make the campus stronger.”

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News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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