MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — In the Madera Ranchos, off Avenue 12 something big is coming.
A small sign is sharing the news, “Coming Soon; the new Liberty High School Engineering, Agri-Science and Farming Academy,” known as LEAF.
It will be the first facility of its kind in the Golden Valley School District.
Seven new classrooms, four barns for livestock, three shops and greenhouses are just some of the major additions coming with the expansion. All of it benefiting the agriculture department, community and beyond.
“It is just a culmination of everything coming together and that shows that when this community is behind something, it ends up happening,” said Golden Valley School District superintendent Rodney Wallace.
Ag teacher and department head Anne Deniz said currently they are in need of more resources to meet student needs. She is a former Liberty High student and according to her, one of the biggest demands is space for livestock.
“When we have our livestock animals at students homes or they are sharing homes with each other it can be a five, six, eight hour day get to them all and weigh and see them and check up on those projects,” she said.
The new facility also means more classroom space and for Mrs.Deniz that’s a big deal. One of her classes involves making floral arrangements, her students also run a flower shop.
Currently, the school has about 560 students and only three Agricultural teachers. Ag is big in the community and Principal Felipe Piedra said the new facility will create new opportunities.
“We are pretty excited about that for our kids to be able to get some training and education here locally and preparing them for the bigger world,” he said.
The LEAF academy was funded through bond and grant dollars. Initially, it was slated to be completed in 2025, but it is all coming together much sooner in the year 2022. The district expects to break ground sometime next year.