Education / Schools

Gavilan College San Benito campus groundbreaking set for late 2022.

A soft opening is expected for the 2024 summer semester.
Image from virtual meeting.
Image from virtual meeting.
Image from virtual meeting.
Image from virtual meeting.
Image from virtual meeting.

At a May 3 meeting to provide an update on Gavilan College’s San Benito County campus, Brad Fannin of Blach Construction said the project is on track to begin construction at the end of 2022 or early 2023.

Damon Felice of Felice Consulting, the construction management firm for the project, told BenitoLink the college expects a soft opening for the 2024 summer semester and a full opening in the fall. 

Also in the Zoom meeting were Bob Barthelman of Steinberg Hart and District Superintendent Kathleen Rose. 

Fannin discussed what’s envisioned for the campus and showed slides of what the structure and surrounding parking and landscape will look like. Taking price and environmental factors into consideration the campus will use a lot of natural light and both the construction firms and district hope the campus will use electric-sourced energy only. The plan is not to use any natural gas, which will mean a departure from how chemistry labs are usually fueled. Following initial completion of the project, Fannin said solar energy may be incorporated.

Measure X has assigned $59.9 million in funds for building the campus. The bond measure was passed in 2018 by voters in both San Benito and Santa Clara counties.  The full amount of the $248 million bond is intended for improvements to the main Gavilan campus in Gilroy and construction of the San Benito campus.

The first phase of the San Benito County campus will include constructing a maintenance and operations building; adding portable classrooms for labs and career technical education; developing open space parking nearby; and potentially establishing a retail site. Any additional plans for Fairview Corners beyond Phase One construction would require more funding through another bond, according to statements from Gavilan College President Kathleen Rose at a May 10, 2018 San Benito County Business Council meeting.

When the measure was passed it was expected Gavilan College would break ground in 2020.

Felice told BenitoLink the contracts are guaranteed maximum-price contracts, meaning that escalation costs are already worked into the contract and work is completed at the established price. He added that although supply and demand during the pandemic has raised construction material costs, he expects them to drop as the economy is reopened. 

There are also plans for an area for local groups such as Pinnacles National Park to set up an informative area. Board Trustee Jeannie Wallace suggested a coffee bar provided by Starbucks since they could pay for a lease, while Trustee Irma Gonzalez suggested it should be a local company such as Calavera Coffee.

For more information on Measure X, visit here


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Carmel de Bertaut

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018 and covers Science and the Environment and Arts and Culture.