A recent aerial photo shows the progress made so far at Gavilan College’s San Benito County campus site on Fairview Road. Photo: Blach Construction

Construction is under way at the Fairview Road site of Gavilan College’s new San Benito County campus. 

Delivering on current and future needs of its new students, the new campus project marks a “homecoming” for Gavilan College, which was founded in Hollister in 1919, says a press release. The $60 million-plus project is being built by the design-build team consisting of contractors Blach Construction, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) and Gensler. 

Phase one of the campus plan is a 34,000-square-foot multipurpose center that supports a mix of resources for “student equity and success,” and includes a lobby, welcome center, classrooms, science/computer labs, learning resource and testing centers, cafe, community room and administrative spaces, says the press release. 

The project also includes modern, sustainable designs that “carefully account for current and future technology needs.” The all-electric campus will be net-zero energy-ready, and is designed to accommodate a solar array in the future. 

“Our new Gavilan College San Benito County campus will greatly improve access to higher education in Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Tres Pinos and other rural county areas,” said Gavilan Superintendent Pedro Avila. “Approximately 2,000 of our currently enrolled students live in Hollister and other San Benito County areas. This decades-long-awaited campus fulfills our vision of expanding academic opportunities to these communities to support upward mobility.”

Gavilan College and San Benito County officials held a groundbreaking ceremony at the campus site on June 16. The project is located near Highway 25 on Fairview Road. Gavilan College purchased the property for the local campus more than 20 years ago. 

Gavilan College has contracted the project through the design-build method, allowing the design and construction contractor partners to collaborate closely from the beginning, says the press release. 

“This is a milestone project to be sure. Not every day do we have an opportunity to enhance a deserving community with an entirely new, much-desired community college campus, let alone partner with two renowned education designers and an inclusive client to do it,” said Brad Fannin, project director at Blach Construction. “We are thrilled to be leveraging our extensive design-build expertise, integrating seamlessly with our partners to ensure the Gavilan San Benito County Campus project remains on schedule, within budget and when complete, exceeds the higher education needs of students in and around the greater Hollister area.”

Once Gavilan issued the request for proposal, Blach Construction, QKA and Gensler formed the design-build entity and began collaborating and coordinating to deliver on the college’s needs and desires. 

“Designing a new college campus is a rare and exhilarating privilege,” said QKA President Aaron Jobson. “Since the onset of the progressive design-build contract, the team was able to respond to multiple project challenges including changes in educational approach post-Covid, approval delays, and a volatile cost environment. Our seamless collaboration has resulted in optimal design, innovative approaches to the construction process, and cost and time efficiencies for the college.”

The Gavilan College San Benito County Campus Phase 1 project also includes a hardscape entry plaza, outdoor instructional and work environments, parking lots and landscaping. 

Funding for the $60 million project comes from Measure X, which San Benito and Santa Clara County voters passed in 2018. Completion of the new campus is slated for Fall 2024. 

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