Fruitvale School District's board on Tuesday approved the renaming of Fruitvale Junior High's gymnasium in honor of John Hefner, who served as principal at that school for 30 years.

Hefner served as principal of Fruitvale Junior High from 1977 to 2007. During that time, the school became state and nationally recognized for its success in both academic and co-curricular programs, including National History Day.

The school has been named a California Distinguished School four times, which is the top award for state public schools. It also received a National Blue Ribbon School award, the nation's top prize for schools.

In other news, district officials at 8:30 a.m. Thursday will hold a celebration to name Fruitvale's educational services center the Carl F. Olsen Education Center. Olsen, Kern County's longest-serving superintendent today with 25 years leading the district, is retiring at the end of this month. The district building is at 7311 Rosedale Highway.