New school fields taking shape

Site work at San Benito fields begins

FIELD OF DREAMS San Benito High School District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum checks out progress on new athletic fields.

San Benito High School students can look forward to state-of-the-art athletic facilities, as crews recently broke ground on San Benito High School’s new multi-purpose practice facility.

The ongoing construction and renovation is funded by two voter-approved bond measures: the $42.5 million Measure G, which passed in June 2014, and the $60 million Measure U, approved in November 2016.

The athletic facilities will be on par with other top high schools in the state, according to San Benito High School Athletic Director Tod Thatcher.

“Last year, we opened our new wrestling and weight room facilities and refurbished Mattson Gym,” Thatcher said. “Now, we are super excited to see ground being moved at the site of our new all-synthetic, multi-purpose practice facility.”

About 1,100 student-athletes, which make up more than a third of the student body, compete at the freshman, junior varsity and varsity levels across 26 sports offered at SBHS, according to district staff.

The new facility, which will be used by field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, softball and cheerleading—as well as physical education classes during the regular school day—is scheduled to be completed by May 2018.

“This facility will allow Baler student-athletes and physical education students to play and practice on a safe, consistent surface all day, every day, rain or shine,” Thatcher added. “This facility will literally be used more than 300 days a year.”

While school officials have placed a premium on upgrading athletic facilties to continue Hollister’s storied sports tradition, the two bond measures have touched other parts of campus life as well.

Measure G-funded projects include: campus-wide HVAC classroom installation; classroom modernization; ADA upgrades; new tennis courts and parking lot; new Career Technical Education building; special education facility upgrade; Nash Road safety measures and closure.

Measure U-funded projects include: the new Visual and Performing Arts building, which students began classes at last month; new science lab and classroom building; new robotics building (scheduled to open by Summer 2019); and new student union, cafeteria and central quad, scheduled for completion in December 2019, according to a Nov. 17 presentation by district staff.

Along with the multi-use practice facilty, other athletic projects funded by Measure U are a new Aquatics Complex, slated for completion by May 2019; new track and field as well as softball field, scheduled to be done in summer 2019; and an athletic storage facility, according to a Nov. 17 presentation by district staff.

“The commitment to build new athletic facilities on our campus is huge,” said Thatcher. “Once completed, our athletic facilities will be as good as they get for public high schools in California. We are extremely grateful to our Hollister community, Board of Trustees and administration for seeing the need, value and importance of building these new athletic facilities.”

2018 graduation ceremony staying on campus

District officials announced that the June 8 graduation ceremony will be held on campus at San Benito High School, rather than at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas, as previously expected due to construction.

However, a delay in the campus construction schedule has made the area near the practice soccer fields available, according to district staff.

“The state’s request for more information has briefly delayed site work in the area of campus near Hardin Field, which otherwise would have precluded holding the commencement ceremony on the nearby lawn, as it would have been a construction zone,” according to a Jan. 18 letter to school staff, students and community issued by Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum, Principal Adrian Ramirez and Graduation Coordinator Laurie Chavez.

The 2019 ceremony will be held at the new multi-use fields currently under construction on campus and the 2020 ceremony will be held in the new stadium, according to district staff.

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