New Dinuba High School to boost local economy

Economic impact report examines immediate, ripple efforts of new Dinuba High School project

Site of Dinuba’s new high school campus from Alta Ave. (Kenny Goodman)
Site of Dinuba’s new high school campus from Alta Ave. (Kenny Goodman)
Serena Bettis
Published February 6, 2024  • 
11:00 am

DINUBA – A report prepared by the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) showed that construction of the new Dinuba High School could add nearly $230 million worth of impact to the local economy over a four-year project timeframe. 

Published on Dec. 12, 2023, the report combined the estimated direct, indirect and induced impacts of constructing the new campus off Kamm Avenue and Alta Avenue. Dinuba Unified School District (DUSD) Superintendent Joe Hernandez said that while any new school has an impact, he worked with the TCEDC to generate the report because he wanted to be able to quantify the effects of the project.

“They did a thorough report, and I was delighted to see the impact … that’s pretty impressive that there’s that much that’s been generated through the project,” Hernandez said. “For me, it’s a double blessing because you have not only the benefits of a new school and facility for our students but you have the economic productivity that it’s creating now and in the future.”

For Hernandez, the report helps capture what the district is trying to do in the community — end generational poverty through education. 

Hernandez said that he visits the construction site often, and in talking to those working on the project, he sees a lot of pride in the community; many construction workers are building the school that their kids will one day attend. 

TCEDC Economic Development Manager Shawna Bryant prepared the report and said that she used surveys and other information gathered from Hernandez to generate her estimates and analyses. 

The report is written in a way that provides definitions for different terms and an explanation of the process Bryant went through, so that anyone can read it and understand what kind of impact the project has. 

Typically, the TCEDC prepares similar reports for businesses and investors to give them insight into what changes might be affected by local economic activity, including new construction and future effects, Bryant said. The report for DUSD focused only on the impact generated by the three phases of the construction project. 

The report shows impact in a variety of ways: through job creation by the numbers, labor income, tax income, value-added — which reflects the project’s impact on the gross regional product (GRP) — and overall output. 

Each section is broken down briefly to show the impact on those categories over the estimated four years of the project. It shows things like the top-five types of jobs created and their average salary, the value-added calculation over four years and the tax revenue generated from state, county and other special taxes. 

For example, Bryant said the value-added portion goes into detail on a year-to-year breakdown for each phase of the school project.

“It shows them this is what we estimate based on that initial investment dollar you will spend by year and this is how it will affect each industry that is subsequently going to be participatory in the construction,” Bryant said.

To reach the final overall output figure of $228.9 million, Bryant looked at the sum of the value-added calculation and the cost of intermediate inputs. The output figure provides information on the value of the total annual production regarding the facility operations, Bryant said.

“Those inter-industry relationships like the impact of the new high school through transactions between industries,” Bryant said. “Suppliers, contractors, everyone participating in the construction work and earning money on it for this build, this is what your output looks like.” 

From Bryant’s perspective, the report — regardless of the number assigned to the impact — shows how the district is not only considering the future of its students, but they’re thinking about plans for future growth in the city. 

Hernandez said that in his opinion, looking at the report highlights how the city of Dinuba is already on a growth trajectory when it comes to attracting new businesses and building more housing, and he sees the new school as a complement to that work done on city planning. 

“To me, it’s about attracting a new generation of residents who want to stay here because there’s a lot to offer their kids and a lot for the community,” Hernandez said.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter