Government / Politics

Former Leatherback site considered for Gavilan Education Center

Hollister City Council to ponder deal to use 6.46-acre former industrial site for Gavilan College site

The Hollister City Council, acting as the Successor Agency to the former Redevelopment Agency, on Monday, Aug. 17 will consider entering into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with TTI Developers, Inc. for development of the former Leatherback industrial site east of downtown into a long-term lease facility for use as a Gavilan Education Center.

The 6.46-acre former Leatherback site, located at the corner of South and McCray streets, is one of the two properties still belonging to the RDA’s Successor Agency. The other is the grass lot at the 400 block of San Benito Street.

According to the staff report, the Redevelopment Agency acquired the former Leatherback tar paper plant in 2008 when the business closed. The RDA conducted environmental review and funded the demolition of all previous buildings and materials from the former tar paper plant. Soils were removed up to depth of at least five feet to clean up contamination. Site clearance was substantially completed by June of 2011. The property and associated cleanup cost the RDA approximately $5 million, but the last estimated value was slightly less than $2 million. The site currently generates no income and costs about $5,200 a year to maintain.

Gavilan’s plans for a Hollister Campus to be located near Fairview Road and Airline Highway have essentially been put on hold by the college board’s decision to shift first priority to a new campus north of Morgan Hill in Coyote Valley and a revised state requirement that any campus have 1,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES) to receive operational funding.

Gavilan currently uses the Briggs Building in central Hollister for classrooms, but the space is limited. The staff report states that the district estimates that at least 25,000 square feet of classroom space is needed for an Education Center. There are currently 260 FTES enrolled at the nearly 9,000-square-foot Briggs Building satellite campus annually.

As part of the evaluation of the need for an Education Center, the city published census data showing that the percentage of Hollister residents with bachelor’s or advanced degrees was far below the state average.

Where and When

City Council Chambers, City Hall, 375 Fifth Street, Hollister, 6:30 p.m or after, Monday, August 17, 2015.

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.