Hollister High students looking at depictions of the student union project. Photo by Michael Koteles.
Hollister High students looking at depictions of the student union project. Photo by Michael Koteles.

This article was written by BenitoLink interns Eden De Alba, Michael Koteles

At Hollister High School’s main campus, the once-active Career Technical Education (CTE) building has been demolished, leaving an empty plot in its place. 

That building was replaced by the new CTE building, through the funding of bond Measure G, moving from Nash Road to behind the tennis courts.

In place of the old CTE building, Hollister High School aims to build a student union featuring a new kitchen, cafeteria, restrooms and outdoor seating. However, the San Benito County High School District does not have the funding to complete this project, so construction is on hold until funds can be secured.

“We are currently finishing up our RFP processes to identify a contractor. The project is shovel ready and waiting on the funding plan to settle.” said Chief Business Officer John Frusetta.

“We estimate the cost of the student union construction to be approximately $14 million,” Frusetta added. “Our funding sources for this project include a mix of state matching funds, restricted cafeteria funds, and capital outlay.”

The student union, which is a one-story, 8,382 square-foot design, almost the size of a handball court, is the last major project of the high school’s facilities master plan, which helps the district address improvements that will accommodate an increasing student population and, ultimately, constructing a second high school.

“The proposed timeline for construction is to begin in the Fall of 2023 and be completed by the start of the school year in Fall of 2024.” Frusetta said. 

According to the master plan, the goal of the student union is to replace the existing cafeteria on the north campus along Monterey Street, as well as provide a student hub at the center of the school, leaving space for activities and school events.

“The student union and kitchen would provide a central location that would allow all students to grab food and hang out,” Frusetta said. “Our current cafeteria solution doesn’t have the physical capacity to serve the entirety of the nearly 3,500 students on our campus.”  

He said he looks forward to the high school completing its facility master plan.

“With the construction of the student union/kitchen, we can ensure that all students would have an opportunity to be fed, as well as have a spot to hang out and call their own.”

Student commissioner of clubs Gabriel Mendez said the student union will also be used for partnerships with organizations, local businesses and community members.

“This center could serve as a safe and vibrant hub for students to meet, socialize, and engage in academic activities, creating a sense of community and belonging among students,” Mendez said. “It can be a space for assemblies and gatherings for both the school and the community, allowing everyone to share ideas and experiences.”  

San Benito High School District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum said the district’s goal is to finish the master plan for Hollister High School. 

“As a student you would love to have this on campus,” Tennenbaum said, “It’s more than just a cafeteria to provide nutrition, it’s a gathering place, a place for assembly, a place for the community to get involved, and then it just creates that central hub on the campus.” 

He added the school still has some room to grow to accommodate more students. 

“As our population grows, it would be to include portable classrooms, and then just focus on the future for the second High school,” Tennenbaum said. 

For more information about the facilities master plan, click here.

The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.