Northern California CC Moves Ahead on New Campus Project

By Eric Althoff

HOLLISTER, Calif.—The design-build team of Gensler, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, and Blach Construction is pressing forward with a new campus for the Bay Area Gavilan Community College. The new campus will replace the junior college’s original layout, which was realized in 1919. The design-build plan calls for the new Gavilan campus to be net-zero when completed this fall, with a future solar array in the planning as well.

“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.”

The first phase of the work entails a 34,000-square-foot “campus core” building that will be home to a welcome center, various classrooms, testing center, community room, dining area, offices and various learning laboratories. Phase 1 also entails work on parking lots, landscaping, entry plaza as well as outdoor learning spaces.

The progressive design-build model allows for seamless teamwork and budgetary control throughout the construction process. Following the school’s issuing of the original request for proposal, Blach Construction leaned on its previous relationships with both Gensler and QKA to imagine a joint strategy.

“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,” Brad Fannin, project director at Blach Construction, said of the general contractor’s work at Gavilan. “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.”

Added QKA President Aaron Jobson: “Designing a new college campus is a rare and exhilarating privilege. 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.”

“We were delighted to join as the lead designer for Gavilan’s new San Benito Campus—an important new facility designed with the community, for the community,” said Gensler principal-in-charge and education practice leader Sandy Mendler. “When complete, this initial phase of the campus will provide a full range of enhanced facilities and supportive services for students pursuing careers in science and other high demand fields, while also serving as a dynamic hub for community gathering.”

Funding for the project came from Measure X, passed by Santa Clara and San Benito County voters in 2018.