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By Carole Grosch

The following is an excerpt from "50 Unified Years:  Building a Tradition of Excellence in Clovis Unified Before, During & After Unification" 


Three for one

In the late 1990s, a huge crop of subdivisions were sprouting out of the fertile agriculture field of southeast Clovis. According to CUSD's housing projections, the area was showing great potential for continued growth and schools, including a high school and intermediate school were going to be needed to house the influx of students.

A successful educational complex had been constructed for the first time in the district in 1991 comprised of Buchanan High, Alta Sierra Intermediate and Garfield Elementary school all sharing one plot of land. A primary advantage to housing the three schools in close proximity was the ability to provide students a seamless transition through grades kindergarten through 12. Additionally, the three schools would have the advantage of being able to share facilities and grounds.

Clovis Unified opted to replicate the effective educational complex concept with its new school construction in southeast Clovis. A 160-acre parcel of land bordered by DeWolf, Gettysburg, Leonard and Ashlan avenues was selected to serve as the site of the new complex which would become the Reagan Educational Center, or REC.

The Clark and Alta Sierra intermediate students slated to attend the new schools chose the school colors of hunter green, navy blue and silver, and the Timberwolves as their new school mascot. It was decided that all three Reagan Educational Center schools would share the same colors and mascot in order to ensure an all-inclusive feel.

Of REC's 160 total acres, 55 acres were purchased from the Reyburn family who had farmed the land since the 1870s. The intermediate school would later be named after the family's patriarch, Joseph D. Reyburn.

Origins of a name

Joseph Davidson Reyburn was an adventurer. Born in Des Moines County, Iowa, on December 25, 1840, Reyburn at­ tended log cabin schools and worked a variety of farm jobs before traveling to Oregon with mule teams in 1862.

For the next several years, Reyburn worked as a teamster, homesteader and farmer, and ran a lumber company.

He traveled throughout Nevada and California, arriving in Fresno County in 1881 where he built a house and barn on property near present-day DeWolf and Gettysburg avenues. He became a specialist at dry-farming wheat and barley.

Reyburn was married twice and was the father of 15 children. His first wife, Mary Ella Lester, was the mother of nine children when she died October 7, 1893, just 10 days shy of her 42nd birthday. Her death left Joe with children ranging in ages from one-and-a-half to 19 years old. Four years later, he married Annie Predmore Buckley; they became the parents of six additional offspring. All but two of his 15 children lived to adulthood.

Cornerstone for Reyburn

By September 1999, Reyburn Intermediate was the first REC school to be completed on the 160-acre site. At the time Reyburn opened, Clovis East High School was yet to be finished and adjoining Reagan Elementary School yet to be built. All three sites of entire REC complex represented an investment of $90 million. In the first year the intermediate school was open, Clovis East ninth-graders shared the new campus with Reyburn's seventh and eighth grade students.

A local chapter of the Masonic Lodge conducted the cornerstone ceremony to officially open the school for the 1999-2000 school year. District and elected officials attended the ceremony as well as members of the Reyburn family. A time capsule, to be opened 100 years later, was placed in the cornerstone.

The administration, support staff and teachers were eager to create their own culture at the brand-new school. According to Stacy Dunnicliff, Reyburn's first principal, "Teachers who transferred from other schools brought with them the best practices from other sites. By blending and discussing a variety of practices, the teachers at Reagan Educational Center developed a new culture and norms specific to the Reagan Area."

Clovis Unified School District: Be the best you can be in mind, body, and spirit
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