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Blach Construction and Gavilan College Mark Topping Out of New Community College Campus in Hollister

HOLLISTER, CA — Blach Construction (Blach), along with stakeholders from Gavilan Joint Community College District (Gavilan), architect partners Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) and Gensler, and nearly 100 supporters and community members recently gathered for a traditional beam signing event to commemorate the topping out of Phase 1 of Gavilan’s entirely new community college campus in Hollister.

The project, which broke ground a few months ago, has made rapid and significant headway. The ceremonial topping out event marks the placement of the final steel beam atop the building’s structure. As is customary, everyone attending had an opportunity to sign the beam before watching it be hoisted up and secured into place. Being delivered via the progressive design-build delivery method, Gavilan’s yet-to-be-named San Benito County Campus has remained steadily on budget and schedule.

“We are all pleased with the construction progress thus far and understand the importance of the project for the San Benito County community,” Blach Project Executive Brad Fannin said. “The use of design-build has allowed for a lot of very productive collaboration between Gavilan College and the broader construction team. As a result, we’ve been able to respond to newly developed requirements from Gavilan with no compromise to the budget, schedule, or overall project expectations.”

Phase 1 of the overall campus plan comprises the first building of the new college campus. The 34,000-square-foot campus core will include a lobby and welcome center, classrooms, science and computer labs, learning resource and testing centers, a café, community room, gender-neutral restrooms, as well as administrative and support spaces. The modern, sustainable facility carefully accounts for current and future technology needs, furniture layouts, potential modification, and collaborative learning options.

With plans to serve the broader community, the all-electric campus will be net-zero energy ready and is designed to accommodate a future solar array. Thanks to city officials and neighboring home builder, Dividend Homes, a sewage system will be installed and connected, avoiding a more costly standalone septic system. Outside, the project also includes a hardscape entry plaza, instructional and work environments, parking lots, and landscaping.

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"This is a historic event for Gavilan College," Gavilan Director of Capital Projects Serafin Fernandez said. "Not only does it mark the topping out of the first of many buildings to comprise our San Benito Campus, it very clearly cements Gavilan’s commitment to expand higher education offerings in Hollister. We are delighted to be on track to greatly improve access to higher education in Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Tres Pinos, and other rural county areas. Most importantly, we are grateful for the support this much-needed project continues to receive, from the designers and construction teams to local residents and businesses, as well as city and county officials."

The $60 million project is funded primarily through Bond Measure X, which was passed by San Benito and Santa Clara County voters in 2018. The new campus is slated to welcome students for the 2025-26 school year. Future phases will be addressed as needs arise.

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