San Benito County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jamie De La Cruz announced on Tuesday his opposition to a potential $248 million bond measure for Gavilan College.
The Gavilan Joint Community College District Board of Trustees is considering placing a potential bond measure on the November 2018 ballot after a recent survey found district residents from Hollister to south San Jose were in support of the measure. Of those surveyed, 65 percent were in support and 27 percent against.
If approved, the bond measure would fund facility upgrades at the main Gilroy campus and build a new satellite center in San Benito County.
According to Chairman De La Cruz, the location of the county campus, known as Fairview Corners, is not congruent with the county General Plan or the best interests of a majority of county taxpayers, business community or student population.
“I was elected to serve on the Gavilan College Board of Trustees when the original 2004 Measure E bond was proposed,” De La Cruz said. “At that time, I was assured by staff and fellow trustees that the proposed campus would be centrally located to the hub of San Benito County, conform with General Plan guidance and best urban planning management practices. None of that materialized when Gavilan College chose to purchase property for a campus at its present location and I cannot condone taxpayers and my constituents being obligated to support a poorly planned community college campus at a location that will be difficult for students to travel to, further degrade county roads and discourage business interests from providing goods, services and hospitality support to our community.”
Gavilan College, in partnership with Morgan Hill-based developer Dividend Homes, purchased Fairview Corners for $8 million over a decade ago, but no construction has taken place. Gavilan officials previously stated the delay related to environmental mitigation and bureaucratic red tape at the state level.
Groundbreaking for Fairview Corners could be expected at the end of 2018.
“Gavilan College must make a better effort to earn the support of San Benito County government officials and the community at-large,” De La Cruz said. “I would encourage its management and Board of Trustees to listen to the needs of our community and make future plans accordingly. Under my watch, San Benito County will not be stuck with a substandard community college location that doesn’t conform to the General Plan or serve the best interests of students, taxpayers or the local business community.”