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

Categorized as Press Release, Project News

Phase 1 to Include Classrooms, Labs, Community Room, Learning Resource Center and Café

Hollister, Calif., Nov. 13, 2023 – Blach Construction (Blach), along with design-build partners Quattrocchi 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. Delivering on the basic and aspirational needs of its students, this new campus project marks a homecoming for Gavilan, which was founded in Hollister in 1919.

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 idyllic rural setting. 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, 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 fully leverage their collective genius and 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.

Once Gavilan issued the request for proposal (RFP) 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 (DBE) 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.

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 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.

About Gavilan College – Soar to New Heights
Gavilan College is one of 113 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.