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Design-Build Team Blach Construction, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, and Gensler Begin Construction of New Gavilan Community College Campus in Hollister

HOLLISTER, CA — Blach Construction (Blach), along with design-build partners Quattrochi Kwok Architects (QKA) and Gensler, recently began construction of an entirely new Gavilan Joint Community College District (Gavilan) campus that will serve San Benito County students.

Phase one of the overall campus plan comprises the first building that, as a nod to Gavilan’s history, has been designed to assimilate into its rural setting. 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 cafe, community room, as well as administrative and support spaces. The modern, sustainable spaces carefully account for current and future technology needs, furniture layouts, potential modification, and collaborative learning options. Additionally, the all-electric campus will be net-zero energy ready and is designed to accommodate a future solar array.

“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 project is being delivered via the progressive design-build delivery method. This allowed the design and construction partners to closely collaborate from the onset of the project pursuit. Such early team integration is ideal for complex projects with evolving requirements and design solutions. For the Gavilan San Benito County Campus specifically, progressive design-build has enabled Blach and design partners QKA and Gensler to offer enhanced cost control, streamlined decision-making, and timely response.

“This is a milestone project to be sure. 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,” said Brad Fannin, Project Director at Blach Construction. “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."

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Once Gavilan issued the request for proposal using the progressive design-build delivery method, Blach strategically turned to fellow education experts QKA and Gensler requesting a joint design approach. The three firms formed the design-build entity and began intense collaboration and coordination to deliver on the college’s needs and desires. With construction now underway, the Blach/QKA+Gensler team is set to deliver Gavilan’s vision.

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

The Gavilan College San Benito County Campus Phase 1 project also includes a hardscape entry plaza, outdoor instructional and work environments, parking lots, and landscaping. Funding for the $60 million project comes from Measure X, which San Benito and Santa Clara County voters passed in 2018. Completion of the new campus is slated for fall 2024.

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