Voter-Funded Projects Enable Facilities Improvements and Increased Student Offerings

“In less than a decade we’ve been able to completely and efficiently transform our campus. This is all in thanks to the supportive community called San Benito County,” said SBHSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum.

Hollister, Calif., Feb. 14, 2020 – The San Benito High School District (SBHSD) is grateful to the community for its support of previous Bond Measures G and U. These voter-funded monies have enabled a multitude of now-completed facilities improvements across the 3,000-student San Benito High School (SBHS) campus. As a result, the District has increased student offerings in academics, career technical education, the arts and athletics.

Long-time partners Blach Construction (Blach) and Aedis Architects (Aedis) worked with SBHSD throughout the high school’s transformation. Leveraging local labor as much as possible, the design and construction team approximate that almost 150,000 workforce hours can be attributed to the various projects. Outcomes have included significant time and cost savings on the projects themselves and more than $11,000,000 in revenue for the Tri-County area.

“In less than a decade we’ve been able to completely and efficiently transform our campus. This is all in thanks to the supportive community called San Benito County,” said SBHSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum. “Public support of our previous bond measures was a direct investment into the future of our teens. And now, we have first-class facilities that match our diverse programming, enabling us to set our students on various paths to success. I am sincerely grateful for all that we’ve accomplished and have to recognize Blach Construction and Aedis Architects for turning our vision into reality and exceeding our expectations.”

With work at SBHS beginning in the summer of 2016 and still underway, campus-wide improvements have included several infrastructure upgrades, from HVAC installation to technology and electrical upgrades, as well as site work to mitigate traffic congestion. Additionally, and on a larger scale, much-needed new buildings and facilities are now being enjoyed by students, teachers and the community at-large.

Career Technical Education (CTE) Building
The first of these larger projects was the CTE building. A rare and valuable offering among today’s schools, this iconic structure houses a well-rounded curriculum for students interested in pursuing vocational education and training. This 30,000 square-foot, pre-engineered building opened at the outset of the 2017-18 school year and includes a state-of-the-art metal shop, wood shop, auto shop and agriculture shop. Each shop has adjacent classrooms and/or exterior work yards, and a 5,500 square-foot mezzanine also serves as additional storage space. To reduce long-term heating and cooling costs, the project team installed an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system to efficiently serve the interior spaces. 

Visual & Performing Arts and Academic (VAPAA) Building
In an effort to encourage growth and development within the visual and performing arts disciplines, the VAPAA building was completed in the winter of 2017. The building totals 17,000 square-feet and boasts two fine arts rooms complete with drawing boards and moveable tables, a dance studio with an advanced sound system, and a ceramics studio with pottery wheels and an outdoor kiln station. The detailed electrical required for the pottery wheels and outdoor kilns demanded close collaboration between Blach and Aedis to ensure a constructible infrastructure was designed to sustain these complex systems.

Athletics and Physical Education Facilities
Because SBHS is known for its top-tier athletics program and the surrounding Hollister community often uses school fields for recreational sports, the District embarked on several projects to upgrade various athletics facilities. As of this school year, students, spectators and the community at-large now enjoy high-performance amenities, including:

  • A 370,000 square-foot Physical Education & Athletics Stadium with all-weather track, high-performance turf field, LED stadium lights and bleachers to accommodate up to 3,900 people. Named for revered teacher and coach Andy Hardin, the stadium also includes a collegiate-quality press box, concessions building, ticket booth, restrooms and locker rooms.
  • A 65,000 square-foot Softball Field Complex featuring cutting-edge softball field equipment, a double batting cage with two net tunnels and single and double bullpens.
  • An 86,000 square-foot Aquatics Complex with two stainless steel Myrtha pools and large, surrounding deck with new bleachers, equipment room, two synthetic turf areas, LED lights, dual locker rooms, restrooms and office space.
  • New multi-purpose practice fields were installed to accommodate physical education classes, a multitude of team sports, including baseball, softball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and football, and new tennis courts were built, along with an adjacent parking lot.

Science Classroom & Robotics Lab Buildings
SBHSD’s mission to expand and enhance its science and robotics course offerings led to the need for additional classroom and lab space. Given its adaptability, Blach’s prefabricated building solution, Folia, was the ideal choice. Folia balanced SBHSD’s desire for a durable, custom building with its aggressive schedule and limited budget. Completed in December 2019 after approximately 11 months under construction, the entirely customized two-story Science and Robotics Lab building boasts 27,000 square-feet of classroom/lab spaces, a state-of-the-art robotics center, prep rooms, flex spaces and restrooms. And because Folia is highly flexible, Aedis, in concert with Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), easily modified the exterior building design to mirror the Mission Style that is characteristic of the rest of the campus.

“SBHS is a perfect example of the great things community support and teamwork can accomplish,” said Brad Fannin, senior project manager at Blach. “For several years, it has been an honor to work alongside the District, our partners and everyone involved to bring these incredible and diverse spaces to life. Furthermore, it is very gratifying to know that we’ve directly impacted and enriched the lives of the greater Haybaler community. We value our partnership with the District and feel fortunate to have become a part of this impressive team and campus.”

“It is truly a pleasure to work with a District and community that values collaboration and progress, and places complete trust in its design and construction team, said Joe Vela, principal at Aedis. “For this reason, we have been able to turn out high-performing and beautiful facilities that not only inspire and advance the current generation of students but endure and adapt far into the future.”

In order to ensure that SBHS students can continue to compete in the 21st century global economy, the SBHSD Board of Trustees asks for the community’s support of the upcoming Bond Measure L. The $30 million school facility improvement measure would allow for the funding of a new multi-purpose building with a student union and cafeteria, new gate systems and security cameras, as well as the installation of additional solar photovoltaic panels on the SBHS campus. The measure is included on the March 3 ballot.

About San Benito High School District
Founded in 1875, San Benito High School District (SBHSD) is located 40 miles south of the Silicon Valley and serves more than 3,000 students in Hollister, California. Its self-named high school, the only high school in the district, is committed to helping all students discover a passion for learning and reach their full potential.

All stakeholders on campus work together to encourage, support, and guide student growth. As volunteers, committee members, decision-makers, and advocates for their children and the school, community members also play an active role in the success of San Benito High students.

In order to help students prepare for the demands of college, early careers, the military and/or trade school, SBHSD provides a rigorous and relevant curriculum. Additionally, the school is highly inclusionary of English language learners and students with special educational needs, offering the necessary support as they transition into mainstream classes.

In an effort to build relevant skills for a global economy, SBHSD supports the use of technology as a critical, 21st century education tool. Beginning in the fall of 2017, flexible and innovative classrooms were created to provide staff and students an increased opportunity to enhance the teaching and learning processes.