San Benito High School District Celebrates Community Support of Recent Bond Measures

San Benito, Hollister, Blach Construction, Aedis Architects

Hollister, Calif., Feb. 11, 2020 – The San Benito High School District (SBHSD) is grateful to the community for its support of previous Bond Measures G and U. These voter-funded monies have enabled a multitude of now-completed facilities improvements across the 3,000-student San Benito High School (SBHS) campus. As a result, the District has increased student offerings in academics, career technical education, the arts and athletics. 

Long-time partners Blach Construction (Blach) and Aedis Architects (Aedis) worked with SBHSD throughout the high school’s transformation. Leveraging local labor as much as possible, the design and construction team approximate that almost 150,000 workforce hours can be attributed to the various projects. Outcomes have included significant time and cost savings on the projects themselves and more than $11,000,000 in revenue for the Tri-County area.

“In less than a decade we’ve been able to completely and efficiently transform our campus. This is all in thanks to the supportive community called San Benito County,” said SBHSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum. “Public support of our previous bond measures was a direct investment into the future of our teens. And now, we have first-class facilities that match our diverse programming, enabling us to set our students on various paths to success. I am sincerely grateful for all that we’ve accomplished and have to recognize Blach Construction and Aedis Architects for turning our vision into reality and exceeding our expectations.”

With work at SBHS beginning in the summer of 2016 and still underway, campus-wide improvements have included several infrastructure upgrades, from HVAC installation to technology and electrical upgrades, as well as site work to mitigate traffic congestion. Additionally, and on a larger scale, much-needed new buildings and facilities are now being enjoyed by students, teachers and the community at-large. 

Career Technical Education (CTE) Building 

The first of these larger projects was the CTE building. A rare and valuable offering among today’s schools, this iconic structure houses a well-rounded curriculum for students interested in pursuing vocational education and training. This 30,000 square-foot, pre-engineered building opened at the outset of the 2017-18 school year and includes a state-of-the-art metal shop, wood shop, auto shop and agriculture shop. Each shop has adjacent classrooms and/or exterior work yards, and a 5,500 square-foot mezzanine also serves as additional storage space. To reduce long-term heating and cooling costs, the project team installed an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system to efficiently serve the interior spaces. 

Visual & Performing Arts and Academic (VAPAA) Building

In an effort to encourage growth and development within the visual and performing arts disciplines, the VAPAA building was completed in the winter of 2017. The building totals 17,000 square-feet and boasts two fine arts rooms complete with drawing boards and moveable tables, a dance studio with an advanced sound system, and a ceramics studio with pottery wheels and an outdoor kiln station. The detailed electrical required for the pottery wheels and outdoor kilns demanded close collaboration between Blach and Aedis to ensure a constructible infrastructure was designed to sustain these complex systems.  

Athletics and Physical Education Facilities 

Because SBHS is known for its top-tier athletics program and the surrounding Hollister community often uses school fields for recreational sports, the District embarked on several projects to upgrade various athletics facilities. As of this school year, students, spectators and the community at-large now enjoy high-performance amenities, including: 

  • A 370,000 square-foot Physical Education & Athletics Stadium with all-weather track, high-performance turf field, LED stadium lights and bleachers to accommodate up to 3,900 people. Named for revered teacher and coach Andy Hardin, the stadium also includes a collegiate-quality press box, concessions building, ticket booth, restrooms and locker rooms. 
  • A 65,000 square-foot Softball Field Complex featuring cutting-edge softball field equipment, a double batting cage with two net tunnels and single and double bullpens. 
  • An 86,000 square-foot Aquatics Complex with two stainless steel Myrtha pools and large, surrounding deck with new bleachers, equipment room, two synthetic turf areas, LED lights, dual locker rooms, restrooms and office space.
  • New multi-purpose practice fields were installed to accommodate physical education classes, a multitude of team sports, including baseball, softball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and football, and new tennis courts were built, along with an adjacent parking lot.

Science Classroom & Robotics Lab Buildings

SBHSD’s mission to expand and enhance its science and robotics course offerings led to the need for additional classroom and lab space. Given its adaptability, Blach’s prefabricated building solution, Folia, was the ideal choice. Folia balanced SBHSD’s desire for a durable, custom building with its aggressive schedule and limited budget. Completed in December 2019 after approximately 11 months under construction, the entirely customized two-story Science and Robotics Lab building boasts 27,000 square-feet of classroom/lab spaces, a state-of-the-art robotics center, prep rooms, flex spaces and restrooms. And because Folia is highly flexible, Aedis, in concert with Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), easily modified the exterior building design to mirror the Mission Style that is characteristic of the rest of the campus. 

“SBHS is a perfect example of the great things community support and teamwork can accomplish,” said Brad Fannin, senior project manager at Blach. “For several years, it has been an honor to work alongside the District, our partners and everyone involved to bring these incredible and diverse spaces to life. Furthermore, it is very gratifying to know that we’ve directly impacted and enriched the lives of the greater Haybaler community. We value our partnership with the District and feel fortunate to have become a part of this impressive team and campus.” 

“It is truly a pleasure to work with a District and community that values collaboration and progress, and places complete trust in its design and construction team,” said Joe Vela, principal at Aedis. “For this reason, we have been able to turn out high-performing and beautiful facilities that not only inspire and advance the current generation of students but endure and adapt far into the future.”

In order to ensure that SBHS students can continue to compete in the 21st century global economy, the SBHSD Board of Trustees asks for the community’s support of the upcoming Bond Measure L. The $30 million school facility improvement measure would allow for the funding of a new multi-purpose building with a student union and cafeteria, new gate systems and security cameras, as well as the installation of additional solar photovoltaic panels on the SBHS campus. The measure is included on the March 3 ballot. 

About San Benito High School District

Founded in 1875, San Benito High School District (SBHSD) is located 40 miles south of the Silicon Valley and serves more than 3,000 students in Hollister, California. Its self-named high school, the only high school in the district, is committed to helping all students discover a passion for learning and reach their full potential. 

All stakeholders on campus work together to encourage, support, and guide student growth. As volunteers, committee members, decision-makers, and advocates for their children and the school, community members also play an active role in the success of San Benito High students. 

In order to help students prepare for the demands of college, early careers, the military and/or trade school, SBHSD provides a rigorous and relevant curriculum. Additionally, the school is highly inclusionary of English language learners and students with special educational needs, offering the necessary support as they transition into mainstream classes. 

In an effort to build relevant skills for a global economy, SBHSD supports the use of technology as a critical, 21st century education tool. Beginning in the fall of 2017, flexible and innovative classrooms were created to provide staff and students an increased opportunity to enhance the teaching and learning processes. 

About Blach Construction

Founded in 1970, Blach Construction builds structures of enduring quality and value throughout the Greater Bay Area and Monterey. The company’s experience encompasses a broad cross-section of workplace, education, institutional and mixed-use building types, including technology, life sciences, professional services, healthcare, K-12 and higher education and civic/community facilities. A leading innovator, Blach is dedicated to continually incorporating advanced construction techniques, leveraging prefabrication, self-perform and virtual design and construction capabilities, while investing in new offerings and project delivery methods that enable greater efficiencies and bring increased value to clients.

The firm consistently wins awards across the construction industry and general business community for its projects, innovation, employee engagement and community service. Recently named the #1 “Best Place to Work” in the Bay Area (in the midsize category) by the Silicon Valley Business Journal/San Francisco Business Times, Blach has appeared on the list for 11 years running. The firm has received multiple “Construction Safety Excellence Awards” from the AGC of California, has been named a top 30 “Great Place to Work” by Fortune Magazine and ranked as a “Top Contractor in California” by Engineering News-Record.  

Blach is headquartered in San Jose and operates a branch office in Monterey that covers California’s Central Coast.

About Aedis Architects

Aedis Architects is a certified minority-owned, full service architectural firm with offices in San Jose and Sacramento, which focuses on public and educational facilities.  Our clients include leading public and private educational institutions, municipalities, and community organizations. 

Aedis has operated continuously through several generations of leadership since 1984. Our architects are inventors, thought leaders, and genuinely caring people who have dedicated their creative selves to ensure the quality of school environments in this valley. In our more than 60 years of practice the firm is always learning and changing. The firm learns because the needs of our communities change, the regulatory environments change, and educational trends change. Today, we design for flexibility, modularity, changing teaching technology, and techniques.

Creating healthy, educational environments for students and faculty is a fundamental goal that permeates the Aedis culture. Aedis’ approach is grounded in reliable service, responsiveness, and a high level of collaboration and creativity. We understand that to ensure the educational facilities we design are productive, 21st-century learning environments that have a positive lasting impact, we must leverage the experience and expertise of others, as well as our own. As life-long learners, we actively seek out the latest in scientific research to understand the links between facilities design and curriculum delivery. At Aedis, we are committed to creating healthy and beautiful educational environments that empower all students and educators to thrive.

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