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San Benito
June 22, 2024

District OKs design of new school

Hollister School District trustees Tuesday approved the 100 percent design plans for the new Santana Ranch School planned at Fairview and Sunnyslope roads.

That school will be much smaller in size than the standard K-8 campus due to a lacking budget on the project, as it will not include a gym or multipurpose room. School officials are looking at January 2021 as a target opening date.

The board approved the design 4-1 with Trustee Robert Bernosky dissenting.

The campus, meant to accommodate growth with the new Santana Ranch development in that area, will be situated on about 12 acres, which is 60 percent of the 20 acres recommended for such a school, district officials have said.

Otto Construction, Inc. delivered the 70% design package to the district Oct. 12, with board approval, and presented the 100 percent design package at Tuesday’s meeting. Next, Otto Construction will submit the new school design to Division of the State Architect on Jan. 4.

The size of the $42 million project has left some key school officials uncomfortable, meanwhile, with the interim superintendent and one trustee outspoken on the issue.

Interim Superintendent Dr. William Barr spoke to the county board in November and expressed his views on the matter. He, like Trustee Robert Bernosky, was particularly focused on a lack of a multipurpose room or gym on the campus.

That aspect of the campus was left out because of a $5 million budget shortfall. The district originally thought developer Anderson Homes was going to donate the land, but that didn’t end up happening and HSD paid market value for the property, or $5 million. Barr in November noted how it’s half the size of what’s needed for a K-8 campus.

Bernosky pointed to flaws in the negotiation process that led to the need to buy the land without a donation.

As for other details outside of the lacking gym or multipurpose area, John Teliha, the director of facilities, told county supervisors in November it would include a tiered approach with a parking lot, buildings, asphalt and play fields. The classroom buildings will be two stories with elevators to meet ADA compliance. There’s a total of 36 rooms. Not all of those are for classroom space, with some meant for food prep, multipurpose activities and specialized student programs.

He said the school is currently being designated as a transitional K-8 school to accommodate 750-900 students, depending on the programming that’s finalized once the project is done.

That campus will be adjacent to a proposed county park, but it will lack the indoor sports facilities built at most other schools.