A new elementary school at Santana Ranch will be completed in January 2021—six months later than the original estimate—after the Hollister School District Board of Education approved new design plans.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of change at its last meeting of 2018, with Trustee Robert Bernosky the lone dissenter. Board President Stephen Kain and Trustees Jan Grist (who made the motion), Elizabeth Martinez (who seconded the motion) and Carla Torres-Deluna all voted in favor of the new plan.
“The school that we’re going to build is the first one since Ladd Lane back in the ’90s,” said Kain, who recalled surveying the Ladd Lane site with former Superintendent Tom Andrade prior to breaking ground. “He brought me out to the (Ladd Lane, Maze and Gabilan Hills) properties when there was nothing there but a piece of land and a vision for the new schools.”
Otto Construction, Inc.—which has a board-approved “design-build” agreement in place with the school district as of Dec. 18—submitted the new school design package to the Division of the State Architect on Jan. 4. That pushed the completion date to Jan. 5, 2021, according to staff.
“It’s very exciting,” said Kain of the new school plans. “It’s always nice to be with a growing district. I’d rather worry about new schools and be in increasing enrollment instead of a declining one.”
Declining enrollment has become a reality for nearby school districts such as Gilroy and Morgan Hill Unified. But that’s not the case in Hollister.
The 12-acre parcel of land, purchased by the district for $5 million, is off Sunnyslope Road at 1454 Santana Ranch Drive, surrounded by new housing developments.
“It’s a good location for a new school,” said Kain, who started as a teacher in Hollister in 1985.
The district has earmarked $36 million of Measure V funds (approved by voters in November 2016) for the building cost. Hollister school leaders are counting on an additional $26 million in matching funds from the state’s Proposition 51, as well as revenues from developer fees to cover the rest. Statewide voters approved Prop 51, the Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act, also in November 2016. The measure provides $9 billion of facility funding to California public schools.
Measure V was outlined “to help fund the construction of a new 900-plus student elementary/middle school to keep class sizes optimal and prevent overcrowding,” according to the school district’s fact sheet. An Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee was also included in Measure V’s ballot measure.
When completed, the new site will be the ninth elementary school site in the district. The Hollister district serves about 5,500 students.
The new site plans include four two-story buildings, with a pickup/dropoff area on Santana Ranch Drive and a fire lane dividing the academic buildings and common areas from the athletic fields and basketball courts.
Kain said there will be more new schools to come in the future with the growing population in San Benito County.
“It all depends on the housing development, which is booming right now,” Kain said. “A lot of the people buying these homes are families with kids.”