Neighbors share concerns with district on Nash Road

School officials have said they hope to close Nash Road near the high school.

San Benito High School District trustees met with an audience of at least 50 people Wednesday to discuss “good neighbor” issues, including problems with students and staff parking in front of residences and solutions to Nash Road, which runs through the middle of campus.
In January, Hollister council members voted 3-2 against the idea of closing a part of Nash Road from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to keep students safe from cars during school hours. The road belongs to the city and the county but bisects the sprawling high school campus.
Residents in the blocks surrounding the campus complained of trash in the street, sideswiped cars, vehicles that parked in their driveways and pizza boxes left on lawns.
“First, I think the high school needs to really consider getting another high school because it is so massively large,” said Michelle Armijo, who suggested the district install a footbridge that went under or above Nash Road. “My suggestion is we think about looking into that as a short-term solution.”
Leading up to the meeting, school staff canvassed the neighborhood and handed out about 600 flyers asking residents to attend the special meeting, which was spurred on by the city council’s mid-January decision not to close the road.
Superintendent John Perales explained the district’s proposed plan to close Nash Road for part of the day in exchange for deeding about 10 acres of the campus to the county to become the home of a neighborhood park that could possibly include a community swimming pool. The county also was going to pick up the tab for an auxiliary road to service the new park and connect Nash Road with San Benito Street while classes were in session.
It’s not just the road school staff members are trying to address. On Monday, school leaders mandated teachers to use the parking lots instead of neighborhood streets, opening up space for residents and visitors to park near the campus.
“We’ve asked all of our staff to use our parking lots,” Perales said. “One of the things we’re beginning to notice is we’re going to need to add to our parking.” 
Former Principal Tim Shellito also took the podium during public comment to talk about the ways the school has changed over the years. When Shellito took the position in 1969, the school had about 800 students but this grew to nearly 3,000 youth by the 1990s, he said.
“The school was never designed—never designed—to accommodate that much,” he said. “The people of Hollister through bonds and such have given us a message that this is where you’re going to be and we’re going to have to learn to live together again.”
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