“The use of design-build has allowed for a lot of very productive collaboration between Gavilan College and the broader construction team."
"We are delighted to be on track to greatly improve access to higher education in Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Tres Pinos and other rural county areas."
Blach Construction (Blach), along with stakeholders from Gavilan Joint Community College District (Gavilan), architect partners Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) and Gensler, and nearly 100 supporters and community members recently gathered for a traditional beam signing event to commemorate the topping out of Phase 1 of Gavilan’s entirely new community college campus in Hollister. Designed to seamlessly integrate into San Benito’s historical and picturesque rural setting, the structure signifies a commitment to better serve both the students and surrounding community.
The project, which broke ground mere months ago, has made rapid and significant headway. The ceremonial topping out event marks the placement of the final steel beam atop the building’s structure. As is customary, everyone attending had an opportunity to sign the beam before watching it hoisted up and secured into place. Being delivered via the progressive design-build delivery method, Gavilan’s yet-to-be- named San Benito County Campus has remained steadily on budget and schedule, to the delight of everyone involved.
“We are all pleased with the construction progress thus far and understand the importance of the project for the San Benito County community,” said Blach Project Executive Brad Fannin. “The use of design-build has allowed for a lot of very productive collaboration between Gavilan College and the broader construction team. As a result, we’ve been able to respond to newly developed requirements from Gavilan with no compromise to the budget, schedule or overall project expectations.”
Phase 1 of the overall campus plan comprises the first building of the new college campus. Supporting a complementary mix of resources aimed at ensuring student equity and success, the 34,000 square-foot campus core will include a lobby and welcome center, classrooms, science and computer labs, learning resource and testing centers, a café, community room, gender-neutral restrooms, as well as administrative and support spaces. The modern, sustainable facility carefully accounts for current and future technology needs, furniture layouts, potential modification and collaborative learning options. With plans to serve the broader community, the all-electric campus will be net-zero energy ready and is designed to accommodate a future solar array. Thanks to city officials and neighboring home builder, Dividend Homes, a sewage system will be installed and connected, avoiding a more costly standalone septic system. Outside, the project also includes a hardscape entry plaza, instructional and work environments, parking lots and landscaping. Overall, the new campus will pay homage to the people of San Benito County – not just the students and community who will benefit from it – but all who came before.
Gavilan Director of Capital Projects Serafin Fernandez expressed enthusiasm about the project’s impact, stating, “This is a historic event for Gavilan College. Not only does it mark the topping out of the first of many buildings to comprise our San Benito Campus, it very clearly cements Gavilan’s commitment to expand higher education offerings in Hollister. We are delighted to be on track to greatly improve access to higher education in Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Tres Pinos and other rural county areas. Most importantly, we are grateful for the support this much-needed project continues to receive, from the designers and construction teams to local residents and businesses, as well as city and county officials.”
The $60 million project is funded primarily through Bond Measure X, which was passed by San Benito and Santa Clara County voters in 2018. The new campus is slated to welcome students for the 2025-26 school year. Future phases will be addressed as needs arise.