Education

The Modesto Bee’s former building has a new name, reflecting its new mission

Stanislaus County Superintendent Tom Changnon talks about changes coming for the Modesto Bee building at a 2016 news conference Monday.
Stanislaus County Superintendent Tom Changnon talks about changes coming for the Modesto Bee building at a 2016 news conference Monday. naustin@modbee.com

The former Modesto Bee building will be called the Tom Changnon Education Center, honoring the retiring county school superintendent.

The Stanislaus County Board of Education decided unanimously Tuesday to name the site for Changnon. The full-block building at 1325 H St. is being converted into a career training center under the guidance of Changnon and other leaders.

“The honor of that is very humbling,” he said by phone after the vote. “... That building and the programs in it are going to be game-changers for this community.”

The county office asked the public to propose names for the building and got 61 nominations. Forty of them were for Chagnon. Five people suggested Stan and Adele Little, retired educators involved in literacy and other causes. Single nominations were for Cindy Young, current director of career technical education in the county office, and retired county office administrators Hal DeArmond and James Norby.

Another 13 nominations were not people, such as Bright Futures, Hope Building and Spelling Bee.

Changnon declined to seek re-election after three four-year terms in the post. Scott Kuykendall, one of the assistant county superintendents, won the Nov. 6 election over Shannon Sanford. He will be sworn in Jan. 7.

The Bee moved out in October 2017 and into 948 11th St., occupying the entire third floor of a building that originally was a JC Penney store. The newspaper had been on H Street since 1951.

Part of the old Bee building already is training people for local jobs, including the Valley Occupational Learning and Technical Institute, or VOLT. The rest will become home to the county office’s Child and Family Services and Educational Options divisions.

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