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

Categorized as Press Release, Project News

Hollister, Calif., Jan. 24, 2024Blach 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. Designed to seamlessly integrate into San Benito’s historical and picturesque rural setting, the structure signifies a commitment to better serve both the students and surrounding community.

The project, which broke ground mere 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 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, to the delight of everyone involved.

“We are all pleased with the construction progress thus far and understand the importance of the project for the San Benito County community,” said Blach Project Executive Brad Fannin. “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. Supporting a complementary mix of resources aimed at ensuring student equity and success, 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. Overall, the new campus will pay homage to the people of San Benito County – not just the students and community who will benefit from it – but all who came before.

Gavilan Director of Capital Projects Serafin Fernandez expressed enthusiasm about the project’s impact, stating, “This is a historic event for Gavilan College. 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.

About Blach Construction
Founded in 1970, Blach Construction builds structures of enduring quality and value throughout California. The firm’s experience encompasses a broad cross section of education, housing, institutional, mixed-use and workplace building types, translating into a diverse portfolio that includes civic/community, healthcare, K-12 and higher education, hospitality, life sciences, professional services and technology facilities, as well as affordable, supportive and market-rate housing developments. With fluency in traditional and collaborative delivery methods – and true to their Silicon Valley roots – Blach continually incorporates advanced, innovative construction techniques, leveraging in-house prefabrication, self-perform and virtual design, and construction expertise to offer greater efficiencies to projects and increased value to clients.

The firm consistently wins awards across the construction industry and general business community for projects, innovation, employee engagement and community service. Quality and safety are at Blach’s core. As a result, the company is continually ranked as a “Top Contractor in California” by Engineering News-Record and has received multiple “Construction Safety Excellence Awards” from the Associated General Contractors of California. Additionally, and as a testament to its company culture, Blach has been recognized repeatedly since 2009 as a “Best Place to Work” in the Bay Area by the Silicon Valley Business Journal/San Francisco Business Times.

Blach is headquartered in San Jose with offices in Monterey and Southern California. To learn more, please visit and engage via LinkedIn.

About Gavilan College
Gavilan College is one of 116 California Community Colleges, a part of the largest system of higher education in the world. Gavilan serves 8,600 students across Santa Clara and San Benito Counties. At Gavilan College, you can prepare to transfer to a university, get training in a skilled career, build your academic skills, or attain needed classes for career advancement. As a small community college, Gavilan offers a more community-oriented and personalized experience than you might find at a larger school, with high educational quality and access to technology.

About Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
QKA provides comprehensive master planning and design services for K-12 and higher education, historic renovation, and community facilities in Northern California. With more than $2.5 billion in projects completed in its 37-year history, QKA’s award-winning portfolio reflects a commitment to design that emphasizes environmental sustainability and community impact. Building Design + Construction has recognized QKA as one of the nation’s top K-12 and BIM (building information modeling) architecture firms. Engineering News-Record has called it one of America’s top design firms. Majority employee-owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), visit to learn more.

About Gensler
Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 53 locations and 6,000+ professionals. Gensler has programmed, planned, and designed academic facilities for public and private clients in California and throughout the United States since our inception in 1965. We are guided by our mission to create a better world through the power of design, and the source of our strength is our people. By leveraging our diversity of ideas, our research and innovation, our shared values, and our One-Firm Firm culture, we are working seamlessly as a borderless firm in more than 100 countries to make the greatest impact on our communities as we continue to tackle the world’s challenges.