The Fremont School

The building which we now know as CLARA was originally opened in 1921 as Fremont Primary School. The original blue prints, stored on-site, show dedicated classrooms for science and music on the second floor, as well as regular student classrooms meant to educate generations of Sacramentans to come.

Midcentury, new seismic standards put historic buildings like the Fremont School at risk – the 1933 Field Act prohibited future construction of unreinforced masonry school buildings (like the Fremont School); the 1939 Garrison Act then mandated that existing schools had to meet Field Act standards. Faced with the choice of tearing down the Fremont School or finding another use for it, the District chose to repurpose the school – changing it from a center for primary education to one for adult education. The Fremont Adult School opened in 1980, and for more than 30 years (1980-2012) provided the adults of Sacramento with important keys to education, including ESL classes & citizenship tutoring, GED programs, and professional certificates.

In 2012, citing budgetary pressure, SCUSD made the decision to close the Fremont Adult School. The classes and services offered at Fremont have been relocated to the Charles A. Jones Adult Education Center on Lemon Hill Blvd. Once the building was closed, however, the property became a regular campground and impromptu meeting place for the city’s homeless population….drawing the attention of several local neighbors, who had already been working to find a home for performing arts groups including Sacramento Ballet, and Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera.

The story of the nearly 100-year-old building had reached a new chapter in its life – a chapter where it would be known as CLARA.